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Title page for ETD etd-06102011-144957

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Tilghman-Osborne, Carlos Emanuel
Author's Email Address carlos.e.osborne@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-06102011-144957
Title Inappropriate and Excesive Guilt: Measure Validation and Developmental Findings in the Relation to Depression across Development
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
David A. Cole, PhD Committee Chair
Bahr Weiss, PhD Committee Member
Craig Smith, PhD Committee Member
Tarah Kuhn, PhD Committee Member
  • inappropriate guilt
  • excessive guilt
  • depression
  • developmental
Date of Defense 2011-04-19
Availability unrestricted
Although inappropriate or excessive guilt is a symptom of depression, no measures exist that directly and effectively assess the construct. A wide range of measures assess guilt but there are inconsistencies in how guilt is defined and operationalized (Tilghman-Osborne, Cole, & Felton, 2010). The cognitive error of responsibility that is inherent to inappropriate and excessive guilt relates positively to depression, is more normative for younger children, and correlates more highly with depression for older children than younger children (Leitenberg, Yost, & Carroll-Wilson, 1986). We introduce a new measure, the Inappropriate and Excessive Guilt Scale (IEGS), and aim to assess its validity and relation to depression across development. Using a sample of 370 children between 7 and 15 years-old, we found (1) significant evidence supporting that inappropriate and excessive aspects of guilt constitute one factor, (2) significant evidence of convergent, discriminant, and construct validity of the IEGS, (3) support for the incremental validity of the IEGS relative to depression, and (4) significant evidence that inappropriate and excessive guilt and negative cognitive errors scores are higher for younger children and more highly correlated with depressive symptoms for older children. Clinical implications and future avenues of research are discussed.
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