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J. Clin. Med. 2016, 5(11), 94; doi:10.3390/jcm5110094

Ashamed and Afraid: A Scoping Review of the Role of Shame in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Gordon F. Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY 11530, USA
The City College of New York, City University of New York, New York, NY 10031, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Frances Kay Lambkin and Emma Barrett
Received: 15 September 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 2016)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [486 KB, uploaded 1 November 2016]   |  


Background: Despite considerable progress in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a large percentage of individuals remain symptomatic following gold-standard therapies. One route to improving care is examining affective disturbances that involve other emotions beyond fear and threat. A growing body of research has implicated shame in PTSD’s development and course, although to date no review of this specific literature exists. This scoping review investigated the link between shame and PTSD and sought to identify research gaps. Methods: A systematic database search of PubMed, PsycInfo, Embase, Cochrane, and CINAHL was conducted to find original quantitative research related to shame and PTSD. Results: Forty-seven studies met inclusion criteria. Review found substantial support for an association between shame and PTSD as well as preliminary evidence suggesting its utility as a treatment target. Several design limitations and under-investigated areas were recognized, including the need for a multimodal assessment of shame and more longitudinal and treatment-focused research. Conclusion: This review provides crucial synthesis of research to date, highlighting the prominence of shame in PTSD, and its likely relevance in successful treatment outcomes. The present review serves as a guide to future work into this critical area of study. View Full-Text
Keywords: shame; humiliation; embarrassment; trauma; PTSD; posttraumatic stress disorder; scoping review shame; humiliation; embarrassment; trauma; PTSD; posttraumatic stress disorder; scoping review

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Saraiya, T.; Lopez-Castro, T. Ashamed and Afraid: A Scoping Review of the Role of Shame in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). J. Clin. Med. 2016, 5, 94.

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