Tracking Regret and Guilt: The Context of Harm and Trait Mindfulness

Cleoputri Yusainy, Muhammad Haikal Azaim Barlaman, Jeremy Alexander Timothy, Salsabila Salsabila, Wahyu Wicaksono
(Submitted 26 August 2022)
(Published 31 October 2023)


Being exceedingly social creatures, each and every decision that an individual human makes carries with it consequences and risks that may endanger not only themselves (intrapersonal harm), but also others (interpersonal harm). This experiment (N = 215 undergraduates; 63.36% female; Mage = 21.86, SD = 2.56) compared the impact of contextual harm on emotions of regret and guilt, and examined whether the role of a trait-relevant predictor in the form of mindfulness on regret/guilt could be explained by tendency of being under-engaged (trait alexithymia) and over-engaged (trait rumination) of affective experiences. In line with our predictions, (i) interpersonal harm aroused more guilt than intrapersonal harm, but the levels of regret between the two contexts were not unalike; (ii) mindfulness negatively correlated with alexithymia, rumination, regret, and guilt; and (iii) after controlling for type of harm, the relation between mindfulness and regret/guilt was mediated by alexithymia and rumination. Although guilt depends heavily on interpersonal context while regret is induced more globally, mindfulness inversely predicts the levels of both emotions through alexithymia and rumination


harm context; regret; guilt; trait mindfulness

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.22146/gamajop.77329


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition). American Psychiatric Association.

Ayaz, E. Y., & Dincer, B. (2021). THE LEVEL OF RUMINATIVE THOUGHT AND ALEXITHYMIA OF PEOPLE IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC PROCESS. Psychiatria Danubina, 33(2), 240–247.

Bagby, R. M., Parker, J. D. A., & Taylor, G. J. (1994). The twenty-item Toronto Alexithymia scale—I. Item selection and cross-validation of the factor structure. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 38(1), 23–32.

Bagby, R. M., Parker, J. D. A., & Taylor, G. J. (2020). Twenty-five years with the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 131, 109940.

Boster, F. J., Cruz, S., Manata, B., DeAngelis, B. N., & Zhuang, J. (2016). A meta-analytic review of the effect of guilt on compliance. Social Influence, 11(1), 54–67.

Brewer, N. T., DeFrank, J. T., & Gilkey, M. B. (2016). Anticipated regret and health behavior: A meta-analysis. Health Psychology, 35(11), 1264–1275.

Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 822–848.

Davidai, S., & Gilovich, T. (2018). The ideal road not taken: The self-discrepancies involved in people’s most enduring regrets. Emotion, 18(3), 439–452.

De Vibe, M., Solhaug, I., Rosenvinge, J. H., Tyssen, R., Hanley, A., & Garland, E. (2018). Six-year positive effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on mindfulness, coping and well-being in medical and psychology students; Results from a randomized controlled trial. PLOS ONE, 13(4), e0196053.

Dillard, A. J., & Meier, B. P. (2021). Trait mindfulness is negatively associated with distress related to COVID-19. Personality and Individual Differences, 179, 110955.

Eryilmaz, H., Van De Ville, D., Schwartz, S., & Vuilleumier, P. (2014). Lasting Impact of Regret and Gratification on Resting Brain Activity and Its Relation to Depressive Traits. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(23), 7825–7835.

Hayes, A. F. (2018). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. The Guilford Press.

Hayes, A. M., & Feldman, G. (2004). Clarifying the construct of mindfulness in the context of emotion regulation and the process of change in therapy. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11(3), 255–262.

Kumano, S., Hamilton, A., & Bahrami, B. (2021). The role of anticipated regret in choosing for others. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 12557.

Lazarus, G., & Fisher, A. J. (2021). Negative Emotion Differentiation Predicts Psychotherapy Outcome: Preliminary Findings. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 689407.

Leyland, A., Rowse, G., & Emerson, L.-M. (2019). Experimental effects of mindfulness inductions on self-regulation: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Emotion, 19(1), 108–122.

Martinez, L. F., & Zeelenberg, M. (2015). Trust me (or not): Regret and disappointment in experimental economic games. Decision, 2(2), 118–126.

Mesmer-Magnus, J., Manapragada, A., Viswesvaran, C., & Allen, J. W. (2017). Trait mindfulness at work: A meta-analysis of the personal and professional correlates of trait mindfulness. Human Performance, 30(2–3), 79–98.

Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Wisco, B. E., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). Rethinking Rumination. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(5), 400–424.

Oflazian, J. S., & Borders, A. (2022). Does Rumination Mediate the Unique Effects of Shame and Guilt on Procrastination? Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 41(1), 237–246.

Pei, C., Fan, C., Luo, H., Bai, A., Ni, S., Luo, M., Huang, J., Zhou, Y., & Huo, L. (2023). Sleep problems in adolescents with depression: Role of childhood trauma, alexithymia, rumination, and self-esteem. Journal of Affective Disorders, 338, 83–91.

Pinna, F., Manchia, M., Paribello, P., & Carpiniello, B. (2020). The Impact of Alexithymia on Treatment Response in Psychiatric Disorders: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11.

Rice, S. M., Kealy, D., Oliffe, J. L., Treeby, M. S., & Ogrodniczuk, J. S. (2020). Shame and guilt mediate the effects of alexithymia on distress and suicide-related behaviours among men. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 25(1), 17–24.

Roese, N. J., & Epstude, K. (2017). The Functional Theory of Counterfactual Thinking: New Evidence, New Challenges, New Insights. In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 56, pp. 1–79). Elsevier.

Rosenbaum, D., Kroczek, A. M., Hudak, J., Rubel, J., Maier, M. J., Sorg, T., Weisbender, L., Goldau, L., Mennin, D., Fresco, D. M., Fallgatter, A. J., & Ehlis, A.-C. (2020). Neural correlates of mindful emotion regulation in high and low ruminators. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 15617.

Sander, D. (2013). Models of Emotion. In J. Armony & P. Vuilleumier, The Cambridge Handbook of Human Affective Neuroscience (pp. 5–53). Cambridge University Press.

Schmitt, M., Gollwitzer, M., Baumert, A., Blum, G., Gschwendner, T., Hofmann, W., & Rothmund, T. (2013). Proposal of a Nonlinear Interaction of Person and Situation (NIPS) model. Frontiers in Psychology, 4.

Seah, T. H. S., & Coifman, K. G. (2022). Emotion differentiation and behavioral dysregulation in clinical and nonclinical samples: A meta-analysis. Emotion, 22(7), 1686–1697.

Senker, K., Fries, S., & Grund, A. (2022). Mindfulness in everyday life: Between- and within-person relationships to motivational conflicts. Current Psychology, 41(5), 2786–2801.

Teixeira, R. J., & Pereira, M. G. (2015). Examining Mindfulness and Its Relation to Self-Differentiation and Alexithymia. Mindfulness, 6(1), 79–87.

Tett, R. P., & Guterman, H. A. (2000). Situation Trait Relevance, Trait Expression, and Cross-Situational Consistency: Testing a Principle of Trait Activation. Journal of Research in Personality, 34(4), 397–423.

Tong, E. M. W., & Keng, S.-L. (2017). The relationship between mindfulness and negative emotion differentiation: A test of multiple mediation pathways. Mindfulness, 8(4), 933–942.

Treynor, W., Gonzalez, R., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2003). Rumination Reconsidered: A Psychometric Analysis. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 27(3), 247–259.

Watkins, E. (2015). Psychological treatment of depressive rumination. Current Opinion in Psychology, 4, 32–36.

Yang, H., Guo, J., Wu, Y., & Robinson, A. H. (2022). Induced guilt and more self-disciplined moral standards in moral dilemma judgment. Australian Journal of Psychology, 74(1), 2136530.

Yusainy, C. A. (2017). Feeling Full or Empty Inside? Peran Perbedaan Individual dalam Struktur Pengalaman Afektif. Jurnal Psikologi, 44(1), 1.

Yusainy, C., Hikmiah, Z., Sofhieanty, C., & Ibrahim, M. (2018). Deception in Negotiation: The Predicting Roles of Envy and Individual Differences. ANIMA Indonesian Psychological Journal, 33(4).

Yusainy, C., Nurwanti, R., Dharmawan, I. R. J., Andari, R., Mahmudah, M. U., Tiyas, R. R., Husnaini, B. H. M., & Anggono, C. O. (2018). MINDFULNESS SEBAGAI STRATEGI REGULASI EMOSI. Jurnal Psikologi, 17(2), 174.

Zeelenberg, M., & Breugelmans, S. M. (2008). The role of interpersonal harm in distinguishing regret from guilt. Emotion, 8(5), 589–596.

Zhang, J., Mao, Y., Wang, Y., & Zhang, Y. (2023). The relationship between trait mindfulness and resilience: A meta‐analysis. Personality and Mental Health, pmh.1581.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Gadjah Mada Journal of Psychology (GamaJoP)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.