Cultural Factors in the Dysregulation of Shame and Embarrassment: Emotions in Social Anxiety and Taijin Kyofusho

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Virginia Tech

The present study examined the role of emotion regulation (ER) in individuals who endorsed social anxiety symptoms found in taijin kyofusho (TKS) and social anxiety disorder (SAD) in a young adult sample. More specifically, the study sought to examine the role of self-conscious emotions of shame and embarrassment with respect to TKS and SAD. Participants were administered a series of questionnaires during the first phase of the study and, during the second phase, a diagnostic clinical interview and additional questionnaires were administered along with an experimental social evaluative task and recording of electrical cardiac impulses. Descriptively, social anxiety symptoms were expected to be associated with less adaptive ER strategies. Additionally, differences between individuals who endorsed TKS and SAD symptoms were expected such that TKS would be associated more so with shame and SAD with embarrassment. It was hypothesized that ER would mediate the relationship between embarrassment and shame and their hypothesized anxiety counterparts (SAD or TKS). Findings revealed an association between shame and TKS, and embarrassment and SAD. However, less adaptive ER strategies were not related to social anxiety symptoms and ER did not mediate the relationship between self-conscious emotions and social anxiety. The present findings suggest that shame and embarrassment can play a role in the clinical manifestations of SAD and TKS. Implications regarding the role of these emotions and ER were examined.

Embarrassment, Shame, Taijin Kyofusho, Self-Conscious Emotions, Emotion Regulation, Social Anxiety, Culture