Men don't feel guilty enough

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Men are insensitive bastards, according to a new study, which finds they feel much less guilt than women.

The main problem, according to the researchers, isn't that women feel a lot of guilt - although we do, we do - but that men feel too little.

"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, a researcher at the University of the Basque Country.

The team asked 156 teenagers, 96 young people and 108 adults what situations most often caused them to beat their breasts with remorse. They also carried out standard and newly-created interpersonal sensitivity tests.

And guess what: when it came to comparing the intensity of habitual guilt of these groups, the scores were significantly higher for women, in all three age groups.

"This is caused by certain educational practices, which demand more of females, and which are sometimes still in use despite belief to the contrary", claims Etxebarria.

Women also scored way higher on interpersonal sensitivity, although by the age of 50 men seemed at last to start getting the point and giving a bit of thought to the needs of others. Nice to know there's hope.

The report is published in the Spanish Journal of Psychology.