Women experience more guilt than men, according to a Spanish study that included 360 men and women from three age groups.
The participants were given a number of potentially guilt-inducing scenarios and asked to describe how they would feel in each situation, MSNBC.com reported.
Based on the responses, the researchers at the University of the Basque Country concluded that "habitual guilt (a kind of internalized feeling of guilt) was more intense in women than in men in all three age groups studied."
Interpersonal guilt (related to how our action or inaction affects others) was "significantly more intense in women than in men in the adolescent group, and in the 25-33 age group, the pattern of results was similar."
Older men and older women had similar levels of interpersonal guilt, MSNBC.com reported.
"This study highlights the need for educational practices and socializing agents to reduce the tendency towards anxious-aggressive guilt in women, and to promote interpersonal sensitivity in men," the researchers concluded.
The study appeared in a recent issue of The Spanish Journal of Psychology.