Research Output

Early maladaptive schemas in adult survivors of interpersonal trauma: foundations for a cognitive theory of psychopathology

  Background
Although the association between psychological trauma and early maladaptive schemas (EMS) is well established in the literature, no study to date has examined the relationship of EMS to PTSD and psychopathologies beyond depression and anxiety in a sample of adult survivors of interpersonal trauma. This information may be useful in helping our understanding on how to best treat interpersonal trauma.
Objective
We set out to investigate the association between EMS and common forms of psychopathology in a sample of women with a history of interpersonal trauma (n=82). We have hypothesised that survivors of interpersonal trauma will present with elevated EMS scores compared to a non-clinical control group (n=78). We have also hypothesised that unique schemas will be associated with unique psychopathological entities and that subgroups of interpersonal trauma survivors would be present in our sample, with subgroups displaying different profiles of schema severity elevations.
Method
Participants completed measures of trauma, psychopathology, dissociation, self-esteem, and the Young Schema Questionnaire.
Results
It was found that survivors of interpersonal trauma displayed elevated EMS scores across all 15 schemas compared to controls. Although the pattern of associations between different psychopathological features and schemas appears to be rather complex, schemas in the domains of Disconnection and Impaired Autonomy formed significant associations with all psychopathological features in this study.
Conclusions
Our findings support the usefulness of cognitive behavioural interventions that target schemas in the domains of Disconnection and Impaired Autonomy in an effort to modify existing core beliefs and decrease subsequent symptomatology in adult survivors of interpersonal trauma.

  • Type:

    Article

  • Date:

    16 September 2016

  • Publication Status:

    Published

  • Publisher

    Informa UK Limited

  • DOI:

    10.3402/ejpt.v7.30713

  • Cross Ref:

    10.3402/ejpt.v7.30713

  • ISSN:

    2000-8198

  • Library of Congress:

    RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    616.8 Nervous & mental disorders

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded

Citation

Karatzias, T., Jowett, S., Begley, A. & Deas, S. (2016). Early maladaptive schemas in adult survivors of interpersonal trauma: foundations for a cognitive theory of psychopathology. European Journal of Psychotraumatology Supplement. 7(1), 30713. doi:10.3402/ejpt.v7.30713. ISSN 2000-8198

Authors

Copyright

#2016 Thanos Karatzias et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially, under the condition that appropriate credit is given, that a link to the license is provided, and that you indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Keywords

Interpersonal trauma, schemas, psychopathology, PTSD

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