The role of self-conscious emotions of shame and guilt on depression is ambiguous, while studies simultaneously investigating shame and guilt suggest that both emotions have strong unique effects on depression, it is however not yet clear which psychological processes cause shame and / or guilt to be related to depression. This study tested the hypothesis that shame but not guilt will be associated with depression, and that this relationship will be fully mediated by self-esteem and rumination. A sample of 246 university students (mean age = 20.39 years; SD = 1.89), completed a survey questionnaire with measures of shame, guilt, self-esteem, rumination and depression. Path analysis was used to analyse the data. The results indicated that shame but not guilt had a strong unique effect on depression, and that self-esteem and rumination fully mediated this relationship. However, guilt had a significant but weaker relationship with depression, and self-esteem and rumination did not mediate the relationship. Recommendations for future research and limitations of this study are also presented.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2017.