Shame, humiliation, and childhood sexual abuse: Distinct contributions and emotional coherence

Claudio Negrao, George A. Bonanno, Jennie G. Noll, Frank W. Putnam, Penelope K. Trickett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) may produce powerful and enduring emotion reactions, including intense shame, anger, and humiliation. Whereas shame and anger have received considerable interest from researchers, less attention has been paid to humiliation or associated coherence among these emotions as it relates to the psychological adjustment in CSA survivors. In the current investigation, the authors coded shame, anger, and humiliation from narrative transcripts of CSA survivors as they either voluntarily disclosed an abuse experience or described a distressing nonabuse experience and from nonabused individuals as they described a distressing experience. Verbal humiliation was found to be significantly associated with nonverbal displays of shame. Coherence between verbal humiliation and facial shame among CSA nondisclosers was associated with increased symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-363
Number of pages14
JournalChild Maltreatment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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