A new study suggests that men are generally less prone to feelings of guilt and that women show a “significantly higher” propensity for it, while men feel “too little” in comparison.”’Our initial hypothesis was that feelings of guilt are more intense among females, not only among adolescents but also among young and adult women, and they also show the highest scores for interpersonal sensitivity,’ says Itziar Etxebarria, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of the Basque Country. The research, published in the Spanish Journal of Psychology, was carried out using a sample from three age groups (156 teenagers, 96 young people and 108 adults) equally divided between males and females. The team of psychologists asked them what situations most often caused them to feel guilt. They also carried out interpersonal sensitivity tests — the Davis Empathetic Concern Scale, and a questionnaire on Interpersonal Guilt, created purposely for this study. When it came to comparing the measurements of intensity of habitual guilt of these groups, the researchers saw that this score was significantly higher for women, in all three age groups. ‘This difference is particularly stark in the 40-50-year-old age group,’ points out Etxebarria.”
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