Shame in Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders


Purpose of Review

Studies on the relations between shame and anxiety and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders (OCRDs) are reviewed, with a focus on recent work.

Recent Findings

Medium-sized positive correlations have been consistently found across anxiety disorders and OCRDs, suggesting that this relation is transdiagnostic. Most studies focused on shame-proneness and found similar relations across multiple types (e.g. internal, external) and domains (e.g. bodily, characterological, behavioural) of shame, with little variation between clinical and non-clinical populations and different age categories. However, most studies are cross-sectional and correlational and by separately studying clinical and non-clinical populations, they do not give a unitary dimensional view of the relation between shame and symptoms. Emerging findings suggest that shame may be a marker of the response to treatment in these disorders, and its relation with symptoms may be bidirectional.


The consistent but medium-sized associations between shame and symptoms of anxiety and OCRDs warrant the future search for mediators and moderators.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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This work was supported by a grant from the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNCS–UEFISCDI, grant number PN-III-P4-ID-PCE-2016-0864.

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Correspondence to Aurora Szentágotai-Tătar.

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Aurora Szentágotai-Tătar, Diana-Mirela Nechita and Andrei C. Miu each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

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Szentágotai-Tătar, A., Nechita, DM. & Miu, A.C. Shame in Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders. Curr Psychiatry Rep 22, 16 (2020).

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  • Shame
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders
  • Social anxiety
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Transdiagnostic