Attachment and Shame-Coping Style: A Relationship Mediated by Fear of Compassion?
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Theorists have proposed that shame is a predominant emotion presented in psychotherapy. Research has focused on shame proneness; less is known about how one copes with shame. Research suggests the best antidotes for shame are receptiveness to compassion from others and the ability to be self-compassionate. However, studies have demonstrated that some individuals fear compassion; perhaps they anticipate deception or feel they are unworthy of compassion. This study examined the association between adult attachment (i.e., attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance) and shame-coping style. Fear of compassion from others (FoC-FromOthers) and fear of compassion for self (FoC-ForSelf) were conceptualized as mediators between the attachment dimensions and shame-coping styles. Males and females were analyzed separately. Factor analysis revealed a three factor structure for shame-coping style (i.e., withdrawal/attack self, avoidance, and attack other). For men and women, attachment anxiety was a significant predictor of all three shamecoping styles; attachment avoidance was a significant predictor for shame-coping styles withdrawal/attack self and attack other, but not shame-coping style avoidance. For men, FoC-FromOthers partially mediated the relationship between attachment anxiety and shamecoping styles withdrawal/attack self and attack other; it partially mediated the relationship between attachment avoidance and withdrawal/attack self. For women, FoC-FromOthers iv partially mediated the relationship between attachment anxiety and withdrawal/attack self and attack other; mediation analysis was not significant for attachment avoidance and any shame-coping style. Clinical implications and study limitations are discussed.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Literature review -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix A. Demographics questionnaire -- Appendix B. Experiences in close relationships scale -- Appendix C. Compass of shame scale -- Appendix D. Fears of compassion scale