Measuring Guilt and Shame with the GASP (Guilt and Shame Scale)

Taya Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University has made the Guilt and Shame Proneness Scale (GASP) available online. Here’s what Dr. Cohen said about the scale in 2011. I’ll include a link to the full scale below.

The Guilt and Shame Proneness scale (GASP) measures individual differences in the propensity to experience guilt and shame across a range of personal transgressions. The GASP contains four fouritem subscales: GuiltNegativeBehaviorEvaluation (GuiltNBE), GuiltRepair, ShameNegativeSelfEvaluation (ShameNSE), and ShameWithdraw.

Each item on the GASP is rated on a 7-point scale from 1 = very unlikely to 7 = very likely.

Here’s an example of an item from the GASP scale.

_____ 1. After realizing you have received too much change at a store, you decide to keep it because the salesclerk doesn't notice. What is the likelihood that you would feel uncomfortable about keeping the money?

Information about reliability, validity, and factor structure can be found in the 2011 reference below. The article reports the results of several studies. One interesting finding is the relationship of both shame and guilt to morality--they share some common features. People high in both guilt and shame are less likely to engage in unethical business behavior. 

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There’s more to the discussion than I have stated here so, do see the entire article.

Finding the GASP scale

If the link no longer works, see the 2011 reference below.

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Cohen, T. R., Wolf, S. T., Panter, A. T., & Insko, C. A. (2011). Introducing the GASP scale: A new measure of guilt and shame proneness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100(5), 947966. doi: 10.1037/a0022641 Link:

Wolf, S. T., Cohen, T. R., Panter, A. T., & Insko, C. A. (2010). Shame proneness and guilt proneness: Toward the further understanding of reactions to public and private transgressions. Self & Identity, 9, 337362. doi: 10.1080/15298860903106843

You may also be interested in a related post about Test of Self-Conscious Affect (TOSCA).

Resource Link:  A – Z Test Index

Getting permission to use the GASP
APA is the copyright owner. Here is the link regarding copyright permission:


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