Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Nancy S. Thurston, Psy.D.

Second Advisor

Rodger Bufford, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Howard Macy, Ph.D.


Shame is a widely studied aspect of human experience; grace, perhaps its counterpart, has so far largely been overlooked. The relationships among shame, grace, and spiritual well-being were explored. A sample of 115 college-aged participants completed the Internalized Shame (Cook, 1987), Grace (Payton, Spradlin, & Bufford, 2000) and Spiritual Well-Being (Ellison, 1983) scales. It was hypothesized that shame would be negatively correlated with grace and spiritual well-being, and that spiritual well-being and grace would be moderately positively correlated.

The Grace Scale had adequate internal consistency and expected correlations with demographic items. There was no effect for gender on the Grace Scale. As expected, grace and shame were moderately negatively correlated, which shows that they are related constructs, but not opposite ends on a continuum in this sample. In addition, shame and spiritual well-being were negatively correlated. Grace and spiritual well-being were moderately related. A regression analysis showed that the Shame Scale accounted for 28% of the variance in the Grace Scale; Religious Well-Being added an additional 3%, for a total of 31 %; inclusion of demographic questions in the regression did not alter the results. These findings suggest that the Grace Scale holds promise for adding an additional dimension to our understanding of human spirituality that is related to but distinct from shame. Further validation studies on the Grace Scale seem appropriate as well as analyzing the relationships among shame, grace and spiritual well-being. It was proposed that future research include more extensive work on verifying the generalizabiltiy of the Grace Scale and the current findings.

Included in

Psychology Commons