Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Eric M. Sauer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Beverly Vandiver, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Tiffany Lee, Ph.D.


Guilt, self-forgiveness, shame, substance use


Previous research has highlighted the relationship between shame, guilt, and problematic substance use (Gueta, 2013; Luoma et al., 2019; McGaffin et al., 2013; Rahim & Patton, 2015). Self-forgiveness has been associated with positive outcomes for individuals in recovery with substance use disorders (SUDs), though only one prior study has explored the effects of a selfforgiveness intervention for individuals in treatment (Scherer et al., 2011). This study examines the effects of a self-forgiveness intervention on state shame and guilt, state self-forgiveness, and drug avoidance self-efficacy, and it is the first intervention study to focus on self-forgiveness for individuals with SUDs receiving inpatient treatment. State shame and guilt was measured by the State Shame and Guilt Scale (SSGS; Marschall et al., 1994). State self-forgiveness was measured by the State Self-Forgiveness Scale (SSFS; Wohl et al., 2008), and drug avoidance self-efficacy was measured by the Drug Avoidance Self Efficacy Scale (DASES; Martin et al., 1995).

Data was gathered at three points in time (T1, T2, & T3) and analyzed with the use of mixed ANOVAs and correlations. Findings indicated that all participants experienced significant decreases in state shame and guilt and increases in drug avoidance self-efficacy and state selfforgiveness over time, but their experiences did not differ based on their participation in a selfforgiveness intervention. State self-forgiveness scores at T2 were positively and significantly correlated with drug avoidance self-efficacy, while state shame scores at T2 were negatively and significantly correlated with drug avoidance self-efficacy. State guilt was significantly and positively correlated with state shame at T2, but no relationship was found between state guilt and drug avoidance self-efficacy or state-self-forgiveness at T2.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access