Author(s): McIvor K.; Degnan A.; Berry K.; Pugh L.; Bettney L.; Emsley R.
Source: Behavioural and cognitive psychotherapy; Mar 2019; vol. 47 (no. 2); p. 181-199
Publication Date: Mar 2019
Publication Type(s): Article
Abstract:BACKGROUND: Guilt is commonly associated with distress and psychopathology. However, there is a lack of validated measures that assess how people cope with this aversive emotional and cognitive experience. AIMS: We therefore developed and validated a self-report measure that assesses how people manage their guilt: the Guilt Management Scale (GMS). METHOD(S): The GMS was administered to a non-clinical (n = 339) and clinical (n = 67) sample, alongside other validated measures of guilt severity, coping, thought control and psychological distress. Results from a principal component analysis (PCA) and assessments of test-retest reliability and internal consistency are presented. RESULT(S): The PCA yielded a six subscale solution (Self-Punishment, Reparation, People-Focused, Spirituality, Avoidance and Metacognition), accounting for 56.14% of variance. Test-retest reliability and internal consistency was found to be good-excellent for the majority of subscales. Across samples, Self-Punishment was related to higher levels of guilt and distress whilst Metacognition and Reparation were related to less guilt and distress in the non-clinical sample only. CONCLUSION(S): This paper provides preliminary evidence for the psychometric properties of the GMS in a non-clinical sample. With development and validation in clinical samples, the GMS could be used to inform psychological formulations of guilt and assess therapy outcomes.