Date of Award

December 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Shawn P. Cahill

Committee Members

Han Joo Lee, Christine Larson


Implicit Association Test, Shame


Shame plays a significant role in the development and maintenance of mental health diagnoses including: depression, eating disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; Goss & Allan, 2009; Izard, 1991; Lee, Scragg, & Turner, 2001). However, utilizing explicit self-reports to measure shame leaves researchers vulnerable to demand characteristics and introspective limitations of the participants. Greenwald, McGhee, and Schwartz (1998) developed the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to assess implicit attitudes instead of explicit reports. The objective of the current study was to develop an IAT-Shame and to determine its internal and test-retest reliability and convergent and discriminant validity. Our central hypothesis was that explicit self-reports of shame would be modestly correlated with IAT-Shame scores and weakly correlated with instruments measuring other negative affect. We also predicted that individuals with a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) will have higher scores on the IAT-Shame compared to those without CSA. Our IAT-Shame showed internal and test-retest reliability. Contrary to our hypotheses, explicit measures of shame and other negative affect were negatively correlated with IAT scores. Additionally, no significant difference in IAT scores was found between those with and without CSA. Possible effects of a small sample size are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons