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Measuring shame across five countries: dimensionality and measurement invariance of the external and internal shame scale

Abstract

Shame is a universal emotion, albeit having a bewildering constellation of causes, valuations, and behavioural consequences that differ across social ecologies. This transdiagnostic emotion may be categorized into two distinct components: external and internal shame. The External and Internal Shame Scale (EISS) has proven to be a brief and reliable instrument to assess external and internal shame, as well as a global sense of shame. The current study aims to corroborate the validity of the EISS and expand its utility, by investigating its dimensionality and testing its measurement invariance in samples from five eclectic countries from Europe, East and Southeast Asia and Australia. Differences in EISS scores across the five countries were also explored. This cross-national study included 1405 participants recruited in community samples of adults from Portuguese, French, Australian, Singaporean and Japanese populations, who completed the EISS in four different languages. An hierarchical model with two factors (external and internal shame) loading on one global factor (global shame) revealed good fit to the data in the total sample and in each of the five countries’ samples, and the instrument showed good reliability across countries. The EISS factorial structure also proved to be invariant across countries. Differences in global shame, external and internal shame scores were found between the countries. By supporting the factorial structure, reliability and measurement invariance of the EISS across countries, this study contributes to expand the use of the EISS across nations and in different languages, both in research and clinical settings.

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Data Availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author, MM, upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Constança Martins, Daniela Melo, Inês Matos Pina (Portugal), Carla Nardelli, Louis Lambert, and Charlotte Perez (France) for their assistance in collecting the Portuguese and French samples.

Funding

The Japanese sample recruitment was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP19K14412.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

Marcela Matos, Ph.D. (Conceptualization; Data curation; Formal analysis; Investigation; Methodology; Project administration; Resources; Supervision; Writing – original draft; Writing – review & editing)

Ana Galhardo (Data curation; Formal analysis; Methodology; Writing – original draft; Writing – review & editing)

Mariana Moura-Ramos (Data curation; Formal analysis; Software; Writing – original draft; Writing – review & editing)

Stanley Steindl (Data curation; Methodology; Resources; Supervision; Writing – review & editing)

Catherine Bortolon (Data curation; Methodology; Resources; Supervision; Writing – review & editing)

Yoihi Hiramatsu (Data curation; Funding acquisition; Methodology; Resources; Writing – review & editing)

Tahlia Baumann (Data curation; Methodology; Resources)

Rebecca Xin Qi Yiu (Data curation; Methodology; Resources)

Cláudia Ferreira (Data curation; Formal analysis; Investigation; Methodology; Resources; Supervision; Writing – original draft; Writing – review & editing).

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marcela Matos.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Matos, M., Galhardo, A., Moura-Ramos, M. et al. Measuring shame across five countries: dimensionality and measurement invariance of the external and internal shame scale. Curr Psychol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-02019-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-02019-5

Keywords

  • Shame
  • External shame
  • Internal shame
  • Factorial structure
  • Cross-national