Abstract There is a preponderance of literature on the adaptive functions of guilt- and shame-proneness. As the conceptualization and measurement of these self-conscious emotions has improved, there has been a growing consensus that guilt-proneness serves an adaptive role within interpersonal domains whereas shame-proneness is consistently associated with maladaptive functioning. However, the vast majority of this research has focused on typically developing populations. This is unfortunate because the few studies that have examined maltreated samples suggest that maltreatment increases an individual’s tendency toward negative self-conscious emotions. The current study examined the impact of multiple levels of adversity on guilt- and shame-proneness within a sample of 108, 4- to 7-year-old homeless children. The study first investigated whether cumulative sociodemographic risk, a child’s own personal experience with negative life events, or the negative childhood events of the child’s caregiver influenced children’s likelihood of endorsing guilt or shame. Results showed that children’s guilt-proneness was associated with caregiver’s history of adverse events, childhood maltreatment in particular. The study then examined the predictive profiles of guilt- and shame-proneness with respect to academic, emotional, and social functioning. Guilt-proneness predicted greater academic competence and better emotion regulation while shame-proneness predicted worse academic competence and less emotion regulation. Exploratory analyses suggested that guilt-proneness’ adaptive function and shame-proneness’ detrimental effect was most pronounced at higher adversity levels. Overall, findings highlight the importance of interpersonal experiences in shaping guilt-proneness and suggest that guilt-proneness may serve a protective role for children facing adversity.