Hide/Show Apps

Validation and correlates of the vicarious embarrassment scale

2014-04-01
Uysal, Ahmet
Akbas, Gulcin
HELVACI, Elif
Metin, Irem
Vicarious embarrassment can be defined as embarrassment resulting from witnessing embarrassing behaviors of strangers. We developed a scale to measure individual differences in the tendency to experience vicarious embarrassment, and examined its association with related constructs. In Study 1, we found that vicarious embarrassment is associated positively with susceptibility to embarrassment, empathy, perspective-taking, and fear of negative evaluation, while it is associated negatively with self-esteem. In Study 2, we found that vicarious embarrassment is uniquely associated with embarrassment in response to a poor performance of a stranger on a TV show, independent of susceptibility to embarrassment, empathy, perspective-taking, and fear of negative evaluation. Although the limited literature on this topic focused on the role of empathy in this type of embarrassment, these findings suggest that there is more to vicarious embarrassment than empathy or perspective-taking.