Journal article

Personal Narratives About Guilt: Role in Action Control and Interpersonal Relationships

RF Baumeister, AM Stillwell, TF Heatherton

Basic and Applied Social Psychology | Published : 1995


Two studies explored interpersonal and action-control aspects of guilt. Both spontaneous and partner-induced guilt were studied using first-person accounts of interpersonal transgressions and guilt manipulations. Guilt was associated with transgressions against valued partners in close relationships, especially involving interpersonal neglect, unfilled obligations, and selfish actions. Feeling guilty was associated with higher rates of learning lessons, changing subsequent behavior, apologizing, confessing the transgression, and recognizing how a relationship partner's standards and expectations differ from one's own. Inducing guilt also appears to be a costly but effective way of influencin..

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