Predicting depressive symptoms with a new measure of shame: The Experience of Shame Scale


Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham TW20 0EX, UK (e-mail:


Objective. To investigate whether previous findings from interview studies of a prospective relationship between shame and psychopathology (e.g. Andrews, 1995) could be replicated using questionnaires.

Design. A total of 163 university students participated in a longitudinal questionnaire study.

Method. The Experience of Shame Scale (ESS), a questionnaire based on a previous interview measure, and an established shame scale (TOSCA), were considered in their relation to depressive symptoms assessed at two time points 11 weeks apart.

Results. Both scales made significant independent contributions to depressive symptoms at time 1. However, only the ESS predicted additional significant variance in time 2 symptoms when time 1 symptoms were controlled.

Conclusions. It was concluded that the reason for the differential performance of the two scales was that the ESS, like the shame interview, assesses specific areas of shame related to self and performance, whereas the TOSCA assesses general shame and may therefore be more prone to mood-state effects.