Responses to Embarrassment



This study focused upon responses to the emotion of embarrassment. Specifically, the situations causing embarrassment, the degree of perceived embarrassment and the agent of the embarrassment were examined as predictive of the embarrassed party's responses. These same three factors, as well as the response of the embarrassed person, were examined in association with the responses of others. In addition, the issue of multiple responses to embarrassment by the embarrassed party was examined. Self-report data werecollected from 387 persons ranging in age from 17 to 90 years. Log-linear analyses revealed strong associations between both the type of situation and the degree of embarrassment and the type of situation and the agent of the act. The type of situation did indeed predict responses by persons involved in the event. The degree of embarrassment was predictive of neither the types of responses utilized by the embarrassed party nor the others present. Theagent of the incident was strongly associated with responses of the embarrassed party, but was not associated with others’ responses. Responses of an embarrassed party were associated with the responses of others present. Finally, it was found that combinations of responses by the embarrassed party were discovered but were not associated with the situation nor with the degree of embarrassment.