96 per cent of women 'feel ashamed at least once a day'

According to the study, women beat themselves up daily about their friendships, relationships, work and body shape.

It found that almost half of respondents were kept awake at night by guilt, while three quarters said they had experienced more guilt since giving birth. Eating unhealthily topped the list of causes, followed by not spending enough time with family and neglecting work.

But it would appear that members of the opposite sex do not punish themselves in quite the same way. Of the 1,324 women and 55 men questioned by Stylist magazine, 92 per cent claimed that men felt less guilt than women.

Experts claim the difference is because women blame themselves for their failures, while men point the finger at external factors, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

Dr Cynthia McVey, head of psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "Men tend to externalise faults. They fail an exam because 'the room was too hot' while women are more likely to internalise faults and would be more likely to admit to feeling guilty because 'I am stupid'."

Among the reasons women gave for feeling guilty were not recycling and being grumpy with loved ones.

Lynette Alle, from The Women's Coaching Company, said: "Our mothers and grandmothers worried about bombs dropping, food rationing, children going away to the country for their own safety.

"We have our own set of issues now, but these don't seem to impact our lives much, so we worry about smaller things within our control."

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