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Measuring alcohol use-related shame and guilt: Development and validation of the Perceptions of Drinking Scale

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 16:35 authored by Treeby, MS, Rice, SM, Wilson, M, Prado, CE, Raimondo BrunoRaimondo Bruno

Background: The dispositional tendency to experience guilt is inversely related to disordered alcohol use, while dispositional shame-proneness appears to share a positive relationship with alcohol problems.

Objective: In order to further research in this domain, a new measure of alcohol userelated shame and guilt is described.

Methods: Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), the psychometric properties of the Perceptions of Drinking Scale (PODS) were validated across two independent samples (Sample 1 N ¼ 293, Sample 2 N ¼ 429).

Results: A four factor model of the PODS was identified in exploratory factor analysis. The hypothesized four-factor PODS model was validated in an independent sample using CFA (RMSEA ¼ .046; CFI ¼ .99; TLI¼ .99). Alcohol use-related shame and guilt were reliably differentiated, and test re-test stability, divergent and convergent validity was established. Alcohol use-related shame was not clearly related to taking action to address problematic alcohol use, but was positively related with measures of negative affect and using avoidance-based coping strategies. Conversely, alcohol userelated guilt was generally unrelated to measures of negative affect and was clearly associated with the taking of action to address problematic alcohol use.

Conclusions: The Perceptions of Drinking Scale has good psychometric properties and also appears to reliably distinguish between experiences of alcohol use-related shame and guilt. Both alcohol use-related shame and guilt appear to be positively associated with the contemplation of changing one’s alcohol use-related behaviors. Only alcohol use-related guilt was clearly linked to the taking of action to address problematic drinking behavior.


Publication title

Substance Use and Misuse








School of Psychological Sciences


Marcel Dekker Inc

Place of publication

270 Madison Ave, New York, USA, Ny, 10016

Rights statement

Copyright 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

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Socio-economic Objectives

Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified

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