Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 209–216 | Cite as

Relations Among Behavioral Inhibition, Shame- and Guilt-Proneness, and Anxiety Disorders Symptoms in Non-clinical Children

  • Peter Muris
  • Cor Meesters
  • Leanne Bouwman
  • Sabine Notermans
Original Article


This study examined relationships between the self-conscious emotions of shame and guilt, behavioral inhibition (as an index of anxiety proneness), and anxiety disorder symptoms in non-clinical children aged 8–13 years (N = 126), using children’s self-report data. Results showed that there were positive and significant correlations between shame and guilt, behavioral inhibition, and anxiety disorders symptoms. When controlling for the overlap between shame and guilt, it was found that shame (but not guilt) remained significantly associated with higher levels of anxiety proneness and anxiety symptoms. Further, when controlling for the effect of behavioral inhibition, shame still accounted for a significant proportion of the variance of total anxiety and generalized anxiety scores. For these anxiety problems, support emerged for a model in which shame acted as a partial mediator in the relation between behavioral inhibition and anxiety. These results indicate that the self-conscious emotion of shame is a robust correlate of anxiety pathology in children.


Shame Guilt Anxiety disorders symptoms Behavioral inhibition Children 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Muris
    • 1
  • Cor Meesters
    • 1
  • Leanne Bouwman
    • 1
  • Sabine Notermans
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical Psychological Science, Faculty of Psychology and NeuroscienceMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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