Moral Orientation Guilt Scale (MOGS): Development and validation of a novel guilt measurement

Alessandra Mancini, Umberto Granziola, Daniele Migliorati, Andrea Gragnani, Giuseppe Femia, Teresa Cosentino, Angelo Maria Saliani, Katia Tenore, Olga Ines Luppino, Claudia Perdighe, Francesco Mancini (2022): Moral Orientation Guilt Scale (MOGS): Development and validation of a novel guilt measurement. In: Personality and Individual Differences, 189 (111495), 2022, ISSN: 0191-8869.


Guilt emerges as the emotional result of a conflict between our behavior and internalized morality. Since morality is best conceptualized as a multidimensional construct, guilt results in different phenomena depending on the moral values internalized by the “guilty”. Indeed, mounting evidence supports the distinction between guilt feelings emerging from deontological morality and guilt feelings emerging from altruistic morality. Most measures fail to consider moral orientation when assessing guilt. Our aim was to develop a reliable and valid tool, able to independently measure different types of guilt feelings. We presented the 17-items Moral Orientation Guilt Scale (MOGS) to a large subclinical sample, along with other questionnaires. Analyses included measures of classical test theory and innovative techniques of network analysis. This cross-validation approach pointed at four factors: “Moral Norm Violation”, “Moral Dirtiness”, “Empathy” and “Harm”. Results suggested MOGS good reliability and a strong construct and convergent validity. Importantly, “Moral Norm Violation” and “Moral Dirtiness” scores were positively correlated with disgust sensitivity, supporting the link between disgust and deontological guilt. Differently, “Harm” scores were negatively correlated with disgust sensitivity scores, in line with the notion that altruism and disgust possibly evolved as part of contrasting motivational systems.