Prevalence of experiencing public humiliation and its effects on victims’ mental health: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Li, Wendy, Heward, Carolyn, Merrick, Alyssia, Astridge, Belinda, and Leow, Timothy (2024) Prevalence of experiencing public humiliation and its effects on victims’ mental health: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology, 18. pp. 1-17.

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Public humiliation is a negative self-conscious emotion that results from experiencing public humiliation; that is, being humiliated in public in front of witnesses. In the current study, experiencing public humiliation refers to the humiliation that is caused by a perpetrator or perpetrators with negative intent at a location that is accessible or visible to the public and in the presence of a witness(es). To investigate the settings where public humiliation occurs, its prevalence, and its impact on victims’ mental health, a systematic review and meta-analysis approach were employed. A total of 33 studies with a sample size of 40,468 were included in the current study. The findings demonstrate the behaviour of public humiliation occurred in a variety of settings (e.g., medical training, healthcare provision, schools) and population groups. The pooled prevalence of experiencing public humiliation was 34.9% (95%CI [0.266, 0.442]). The pooled effect size of experiencing public humiliation on victims’ mental health outcomes was OR =1.878, 95%CI [1.550, 2.276]. Public humiliation appears to have a substantial impact on victims’ mental health (including symptoms of emotional distress, anxiety, depression; increased stress; posttraumatic stress disorder; suicidal ideation/attempt; Stockholm syndrome, burnout, and being traumatised). A potential mental health pathway model depicting the mechanism underlying the relationship between experiencing public humiliation and mental health is proposed. Recommendations are provided for future research to isolate public humiliation to understand its specific effect on mental health and for developing interventions.

Item ID: 82765
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1834-4909
Keywords: public humiliation, self-conscious emotion, basic emotion, mental health, anxiety, depression, stress, teaching by humiliation
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2024. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Date Deposited: 21 May 2024 01:15
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520505 Social psychology @ 40%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520104 Industrial and organisational psychology (incl. human factors) @ 20%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520304 Health psychology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200409 Mental health @ 100%
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