Forgiveness, guilt, and shame in alcohol dependence: A comparative study in a Turkish sample

  • Merve Vatansever Department of Forensic Psychology, Ankara University, Institute of Forensic Science, Cebeci Research and Application Hospital, Ankara, Turkey
  • Inci Ozgur-Ilhan Department of Mental Health and Illness, Ankara University, Cebeci Research and Application Hospital Ankara, Turkey
Keywords: alcohol dependence, forgiveness, guilt, self-forgiveness, shame


Aims: The purpose of the present study was to compare individuals with and without alcohol dependence in terms of forgiveness, shame, and guilt. A further purpose was to investigate the association of shame and guilt with alcohol dependence.

Methods: Fifty-five individuals with and 55 without alcohol dependence (based on ICD-10 criteria) were compared using the Heartland Forgiveness Scale (HFS), and Trait Shame and Guilt Scale (TSGS).

Results: Individuals with alcohol dependence showed a significantly lower level of self-forgiveness, pride and a significantly higher level of both shame and guilt than the non-alcohol dependent group in the univariate analysis. However, only guilt was related to the presence of alcohol dependence in the multivariate analysis. Self-forgiveness was negatively correlated with both shame and guilt in the alcohol-dependent individuals, but not among individuals without alcohol use problems.

Conclusions: The findings of this study support the importance of the self-conscious emotions of shame and guilt in alcohol dependence, together with self-forgiveness. These psychological states should be considered in the treatment of alcohol dependence.

How to Cite
Vatansever, M., & Ozgur-Ilhan, I. (2021). Forgiveness, guilt, and shame in alcohol dependence: A comparative study in a Turkish sample. International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research, 9(1), 43–49.