Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 259-272

First online:

Predicting guilt from irrational beliefs, religious affiliation and religiosity

  • Thomas DemariaAffiliated withHofstra University
  • , Howard KassinoveAffiliated withHofstra University

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The relationship of the core irrational beliefs of rational-emotive therapy, religious affiliation and religiosity to guilt in 281 adult Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and persons of no religious affiliation was studied. Irrational belief endorsement, as measured by the Personal Beliefs Test (Kassinove, 1986), accounted for 26% of the explained variance and was the best predictor of total guilt, as measured by the Problematic Situations Questionnaire (Klass, 1982). There was no support for the hypothesis that “selfdirected shoulds” would show a stronger relationship to guilt as compared with other irrational beliefs and, as predicted, only irrational beliefs and not knowledge of RET principles predicted guilt. Total guilt was not different among the religions; however, religiosity was found to be a significant guilt predictor\((\underset{\raise0.3em\hbox{$\smash{\scriptscriptstyle-}$}}{r} = .20;\underset{\raise0.3em\hbox{$\smash{\scriptscriptstyle-}$}}{p}< .001)\). It was concluded that irrationality may be a very important but not primary correlate of guilt. Replication with a clinical population is suggested.