Shame, depressive symptoms and eating, weight and shape concerns in a non-clinical sample
Shame has been shown to be related both to symptoms of depression and eating pathology. However, the independence of this relationship has not yet been established. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether the relationship between shame and eating disorder symptoms was independent of the relationships of these variables with depression. Seventy non-clinical female participants completed measures of eating disorder related concerns using the Eating Disorder Examination - Questionnaire version (EDE-Q), depressive symptoms using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and two measures of shame, the Other As Shamer Scale (OAS) and the Test of Self-Conscious Affect (TOSCA). Despite a strong association between BDI-II and EDE-Q scores and a moderate relationship between the shame measures, the two measures of shame showed some specificity in their relationships with symptom measures. The OAS was independently related to levels of BDI-II scores while the TOSCA was independently related to scores on the EDE-Q. There are a number of differences between the two measures of shame used in this study. The fact that each was differentially related to eating concerns and depressive symptoms may give clues as to which aspects of shame are important in each of the two types of pathology.