Development and preliminary assessment of a measure of shame, guilt, and denial of offenders

Xuereb, Sharon; Ireland, Jane L. and Davies, Michelle (2009). Development and preliminary assessment of a measure of shame, guilt, and denial of offenders. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 20(5) pp. 640–660.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14789940903174014

Abstract

The development and preliminary assessment of a bespoke measure of shame, guilt, and denial for offenders is outlined. In Study 1, the new measure was developed using a Delphi expert method. Thirty-nine experts participated in this study. In Study 2, the measure was piloted with 339 adult male prisoners from an English prison. It was predicted that shame, guilt, and denial would be confirmed as distinct concepts. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that this model did not fit the data. Exploratory factor analyses indicated an eight-factor solution, comprising: (1) Chronic distress and low self-worth, (2) Chronic self-blame, (3) Emotional capacity and respect, (4) Responsibility and self-blame, (5) Distress and rejection, (6) Lack of negative emotion, (7) Minimisation of harm, and (8) Functions of denial. There were significant differences in the factors across offence type and agreement with offence charges. It was also indicated that denial had a similar structure across offence types.

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