Shame and aggression: Different trajectories and implications

Patrizia Velotti*, Jeff Elison, C. Garofalo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We review the largely separate literatures on aggression and shame, concluding that both internalized shame and maladaptive shame-regulation are key factors in a number of psychopathologies and that the latter may in turn lead to violent outcomes. Our review is consistent with, and provides further evidence for, the evolutionary and psychobiological links from shame to anger and aggression described in Elison, Garofalo, and Velotti (2014). Within the aggression literature, our analysis of studies on partner violence, incarcerated violent offenders, and personality disorders (Narcissistic, Borderline, Antisocial) focus on the role of shame as a common antecedent to violence. The review includes an introduction to different facets of shame, and goes on to discuss the trajectories that link shame and aggression, with particular regard to self-esteem and rejection sensitivity. We outline the diverse ways through which aggression could be better explained by acknowledging the triggering emotions and the contextual situations that characterize the aggressive act especially focusing on partner violence. Finally, we argue that shame and shame-regulation should serve as useful points of intervention for reducing violent behavior and its underlying pathology, highlighting implications for both clinical and research purposes. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-461
Number of pages8
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Shame
  • Aggression
  • Emotions
  • Partner violence
  • Violent behavior
  • Personality disorders
  • BORDERLINE PERSONALITY-DISORDER
  • INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE
  • POSTTRAUMATIC-STRESS-DISORDER
  • LOW SELF-ESTEEM
  • EMOTION REGULATION
  • INTERGENERATIONAL TRANSMISSION
  • ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • REJECTION SENSITIVITY
  • ANTISOCIAL-BEHAVIOR

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