Shame, guilt, time perspective, time of imprisonment and PTSD symptoms in sentenced motor vehicle accidents perpetrators – a preliminary report
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Instytut Psychologii, Uniwersytet Łódzki
Zakład Psychologii Zdrowia i Pracy, Instytut Medycyny Pracy im. prof. dr. hab. med. Jerzego Nofera
Submission date: 2019-08-06
Final revision date: 2019-10-30
Acceptance date: 2019-10-30
Online publication date: 2020-12-31
Publication date: 2020-12-31
Corresponding author
Aleksandra Andysz   

Instytut Medycyny Pracy
Psychiatr Pol 2020;54(6):1163-1180
The study aimed at exploration of a relationship between PTSD symptoms, traumarelated guilt (TRG), time perspective (TP), and guilt/shame proneness among perpetrators of motor vehicle accidents (MVA). We also analyzed relationships between length of imprisonment, PTSD and trauma-related guilt.

The sample consisted of 37 incarcerated perpetrators of MVA. They were asked to fill in the set of questionnaires: Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory, Guilt and Shame Proneness Inventory, Trauma-Related Guilt Inventory).

The results showed that 50% of the perpetrators met the DSM–5 PTSD criteria. The proneness to guilt and shame positively correlated with the trauma-related guilt. Shame susceptibility as a consequence of negative self-esteem was associated with a greater traumarelated shame. There was no correlation between guilt/shame or trauma-related guilt and PTSD. The time perspective was associated with PTSD – the stronger the tendency of the respondents to focus on the present/past, the greater the symptoms of PTSD. Focusing on the hedonistic present positively correlated with guilt related to trauma.

In the studied population, every second perpetrator of the accident was affected by PTSD, which was associated with the past and present time perspective. Negative assessment of self and behavior intensified the guilt associated with trauma and reduced the search for justification for one’s own actions in external circumstances. Time spent in prison had no effect on moral attitudes or on the moral evaluation of one’s own behavior that caused harm to others. However, it was associated with experiencing stress and focusing on one’s own suffering.

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