Title

Shame, guilt, and drinking-to-cope as mediators between child maltreatment and problematic alcohol use in college students

Date of Award

2021

Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology

Department

Department of Psychology

Advisor/Chair

Lucy Allbaugh

Abstract

Drinking for emotion regulation may be a particular concern for college students who have experienced childhood maltreatment due to difficulty tolerating high levels of trauma-related shame and guilt. While shame-proneness has been associated with higher levels of problematic alcohol use through more drinking-to-cope, guilt-proneness is inversely related. The relations of shame and guilt to drinking outcomes have not been explored among trauma-exposed samples, and it is believed that trauma related guilt may function more like shame-proneness than guilt-proneness. The present study tested how shame-proneness, guilt-proneness, and trauma-related guilt are differently related to drinking motives and, in turn, how this pathway relates to drinking behaviors and alcohol-related consequences in individuals who have experienced childhood maltreatment. In a sample of 252 undergraduates with maltreatment experiences and alcohol use, bootstrapped estimations revealed significant serial indirect effects of childhood maltreatment on alcohol use through trauma-related guilt and subsequent drinking to-cope and through shame-proneness and subsequent drinking-to-cope, but not through guilt-proneness and subsequent drinking-to-cope. There were also significant serial indirect effects of childhood maltreatment on alcohol use-related consequences through trauma-related guilt and subsequent drinking-to-cope and through shame- proneness and subsequent drinking-to-cope, but not through guilt-proneness and subsequent drinking-to-cope. As predicted, trauma-related guilt was found to function similarly to shame-proneness within this sample. Thus, on college campuses, in order to prevent the development of alcohol use disorders among childhood maltreatment survivors, interventions should target maladaptive feelings of shame and guilt.

Keywords

Clinical Psychology, Childhood maltreatment, shame, guilt, drinking to cope, alcohol

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2021, author.

Share

COinS