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December 2021

The relationship of shame, social anxiety and depression: The role of the evaluation of social rank

Journal/Book: Clin Psychol Psychother. 2000; 7: Baffins Lane Chichester, W Sussex PO19 1UD, England. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 174-189.

Abstract: This study explores the associations between shame, depression and social anxiety from the perspective of social rank theory (Price and Sloman, 1987; Gilbert, 1989, 1992). Social rank theory argues that emotions and moods are significantly influenced by the perceptions of one's social status/rank; that is the degree to which one feels inferior to others and looked down on. A common outcome of such perceptions is submissive behaviour. It is suggested that shame, social anxiety and depression are all related to defensive submissive strategies when individuals find themselves placed in unwanted low status/rank positions. In this study 109 students and 50 depressed patients filled in a battery of self-report questionnaires designed to measure varied aspects of shame, guilt, pride, social anxiety, depression, and social rank (inferiority self-perceptions and submissive behaviour). Results confirm that shame, social anxiety and depression (but not guilt) are highly related to feeling inferior and to submissive behaviour. It is suggested therefore that an understanding of the defensive behaviours of animals and humans who are located in unwanted subordinate positions may throw light on the underlying psychobiological mechanisms of these varied pathologies.

Note: Article Gilbert P, Kingsway Hosp, Mental Hlth Res Unit, Derby DE22 3LZ, ENGLAND

Keyword(s): WILD BABOONS; SELF-ESTEEM; PSYCHOMETRIC PROPERTIES; INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES; SUBMISSIVE BEHAVIOR; GUILT; PSYCHOPATHOLOGY; SCALE; PERSONALITY; HUMILIATION


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