Many Americans are more worried about their reputation than their conscience.
They worry less about guilt and fear and more about avoiding shame, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.
Shame has become particularly powerful in American culture in the internet age, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. A single mistake or embarrassing moment posted on social media can ruin a person’s life.
“What’s our biggest cultural fear? Shame,” he said. “What’s surprising is not that personal freedom, ambition, and doing the right thing are valued by Americans. It’s that risk to our reputation is what matters most.”