Everyone feels shame, but those who experience shame often have a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety disorders, per researchers.
June Tangney of George Mason and Ronda L. Dearing of the University of Houston have found that people who tend to feel shame recurrently also have low self-esteem. And “shame-proneness can also increase one’s risk for other psychological problems.”
Shame—the feeling of being humiliated, small, or exposed after transgressing norms—prompts individuals to view themselves negatively. That draws their focus inward, instead of outward toward others (as guilt does).
In 108 studies of more than 22,000 subjects there was a strong, clear link between shame and depression and anxiety disorders.
Women experience shame more often than men, the study concluded, and teens tend to feel humiliation more intensely than adults.