Weight-related actual and ideal self-states, discrepancies, and shame, guilt, and pride: examining associations within the process model of self-conscious emotions

Body Image. 2012 Sep;9(4):488-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2012.07.003. Epub 2012 Aug 21.


The aim of this study was to examine the associations between women's actual:ideal weight-related self-discrepancies and experiences of weight-related shame, guilt, and authentic pride using self-discrepancy (Higgins, 1987) and self-conscious emotion (Tracy & Robins, 2004) theories as guiding frameworks. Participants (N=398) completed self-report questionnaires. Main analyses involved polynomial regressions, followed by the computation and evaluation of response surface values. Actual and ideal weight self-states were related to shame (R2 = .35), guilt (R2 = .25), and authentic pride (R2 = .08). When the discrepancy between actual and ideal weights increased, shame and guilt also increased, while authentic pride decreased. Findings provide partial support for self-discrepancy theory and the process model of self-conscious emotions. Experiencing weight-related self-discrepancies may be important cognitive appraisals related to shame, guilt, and authentic pride. Further research is needed exploring the relations between self-discrepancies and a range of weight-related self-conscious emotions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Weight*
  • Canada
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Guilt*
  • Humans
  • Ideal Body Weight*
  • Judgment*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Psychological Theory
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Concept*
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Shame*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult