International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 15 Num. 3 - October 2015


Constructing a Self Protected against Shame: The Importance of Warmth and Safeness Memories and Feelings on the Association between Shame Memories and Depression

Volume 15 Num. 3 - October 2015 - Pages 317-335


Marcela Matos , José Pinto Gouveia , Cristiana Duarte


Positive and negative affiliative experiences in early life have a major impact on affect regulation and vulnerability to psychopathology. However, while shame memories have been linked to psychopathology, the protective effects of affiliative experiences on this relationship were never explored. This study examines two moderator models of early memories of warmth and safeness on the association between shame memories and depressive symptoms. A mediator model of currents feelings of social safeness on these linkages is further tested. Participants described an early shame experience and completed a set of self-report measures assessing the centrality and traumatic characteristics of the shame memory, early memories of warmth and safeness, current social safeness and connectedness and depressive symptoms. Early memories of warmth and safeness moderated the relationship between centrality of shame memory and depression, by attenuating its impact. No moderator effect was found for the relation between shame traumatic memory and depression. Furthermore, feelings of social safeness fully mediated the effect of early affiliative memories on depression, and partially mediated the effect of centrality of shame memories on depression. Affiliative relationships may engender the source of safeness and warmth that buffers the effects of early shame experiences on negative affect

Key words:

shame memory, safeness memories, social safeness, depression

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