Shame and Guilt: Relationships of Test of Self-Conscious Affect Measures With Psychological Adjustment and Gender Differences in Iran


  • Nima Ghorbani
  • P. J. Watson
  • Mehdi Salimian
  • Zhuo Chen


In numerous studies conducted in Western societies, shame as measured by the Test of Self-Conscious Affect (TOSCA) has correlated with maladjustment whereas the TOSCA Guilt Scale has predicted adjustment. The present investigation sought to determine if such linkages would also appear in the Muslim cultural context of Iran. Iranian university students (N = 132) responded to Shame and Guilt Scales from the third version of the TOSCA, along with an array of personality measures. Shame correlated negatively with adjustment and positively with maladjustment. Guilt displayed an opposite pattern of relationships. As in previous Western investigations, women scored higher than men on guilt, but the expected female elevation in shame failed to appear. Shame, nevertheless, interacted with gender to predict relationships with poorer psychological functioning in women, but not in men. These data most importantly confirmed that the TOSCA Shame and Guilt Scales in Iran display implications similar to those observed in the West and that gender differences in Iran may deserve additional research attention.