Understanding and treating feelings of shame in children who have experienced maltreatment

Esther Deblinger, Melissa K. Runyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Feelings of shame have been found to be an important mediating factor in influencing a child's recovery from abuse. This article conceptualizes the development and maintenance of shame in the aftermath of experiencing child sexual and/or physical abuse. Research is reviewed that may shed light on the impact of shame and dysfunctional attributions with a view toward understanding how this type of painful emotional suffering can be prevented and/or treated. Trauma-focused interventions that have demonstrated efficacy in helping children overcome feelings of shame are described. Directions for future research that may further our understanding of the development, impact, and treatment of feelings of shame are suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-376
Number of pages13
JournalChild Maltreatment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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