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Self-defeating behavior and the interpersonal guilt related to the fear of harming others

18 April 1997


This study is concerned with why individuals engage in behaviors that are apparently not in their best interest, a phenomenon prevalent in nonclinical as well as clinical populations. Ninety-three subjects completed three measures of self-defeating behavior (SDB) and the Interpersonal Guilt Questionnaire-67, a measure of interpersonal guilt related to the fear of harming others. Significant correlations were found between all three measures of SDB and the survivor guilt, omnipotent responsibility guilt, and self-hate guilt subscales of the IGQ-67. Women were found to be significantly higher in survivor guilt than men. Consistent with a developing body of research that supports the association of interpersonal guilt with psychological distress, these results suggest that an interpersonal guilt perspective on SDB may be especially helpful in the treatment of Axis II diagnosed individuals.


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