Early maladaptive schemas, attachment and coping styles in a clinical and non-clinical sample

Kristina Medalová, Roman Procházka


Early Maladaptive Schemas (EMS) are emotional patterns, developed during childhood and elaborated throughout one's lifetime. Triggering a schema activates the amygdala system, which can lead to anxiety and maladaptive behaviour in adulthood. In our research (N=87) we analysed the relationship between EMS, adult attachment dimensions, the partnership satisfaction and the negative coping styles in a sample of clients with addictions (49) and in a non-clinical sample (38). EMS were positively related with anxiety and avoidance in relationships and negative coping styles. Partnership satisfaction and EMS indicated a negative correlation. The clinical sample’s EMS were significantly higher compared to the non-clinical group. Further research must be done to confirm our results. Nevertheless, the findings suggest the possible role of EMS in developing psychopathology and thus support the principles of schematherapy.

(Fulltext in Slovak)


early maladaptive schemas, attachment, coping strategies, partnership satisfaction, schema therapy


Aaron, D. J., & Psych, M. C. (2013). Early maladaptive schemas and substance use: Implications for assessment and treatment. Addictive Disorders And Their Treatment, 12(4), 193–200. doi:10.1097/AD­T.0b013e31827­d8763.

Atalay, H., Berfu Akbas, N., Zahmacioglu, O., Zinnur Kiliç, E., & Göktuna, Z. (2013). Are early maladaptive schemas, temperament and character dimensions correlated? Open Journal of Psychiatry, 3(2), 206. doi:10.4236/oj­psych.2013.32018.

Bortolon, C., Gely-Nargeot, M., Raffard, S., Capdevielle, D., & Boulenger, J. (2013). Early maladaptive schemas predict positive symptomatology in schizophrenia: A cross-sectional study. Psychiatry Research, 209(3), 361–366. doi:10.1016/j­.psychres.2013­.03.018.

Brennan, K. A., Clark, C. L., & Shaver, P. R. (1998). Selfreport measurement of adult attachment: An integrative overview. In J. A. Simpson &W. S. Rholes (Eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships (pp. 46–76). New York: Guilford.

Calvete, E. (2014). Emotional abuse as a predictor of early maladaptive schemas in adolescents: Contributions to the development of depressive and social anxiety symptoms. Child Abuse & Neglect, 38, 4, 735–746. doi:10.1016/j­.chiabu.2013.10­.014.

Carr, S. N., & Francis, A. P. (2010). Do early maladaptive schemas mediate the relationship between childhood experiences and avoidant personality disorder features? a preliminary investigation in a non-clinical sample. Cognitive Therapy & Research, 34(4), 343–358. doi:10.1007/s10608–009–9250–1.

Dumitrescu, D., & Rusu, A. S. (2012). Relationship between early maladaptive schemas, couple satisfaction and individual mate value: an evolutionary psychological approach. Journal of Cognitive & Behavioral Psychotherapies, 12(1), 63–76.

Gay, L. E., Harding, H. G., Jackson, J. L., Burns, E. E., & Baker, B. D. (2013). Attachment style and early maladaptive schemas as mediators of the relationship between childhood emotional abuse and intimate partner violence. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 22(4), 408–424. doi:10.1080/109267­71.2013.775982.

Gilbert, F., & Daffern, M. (2013). The association between early maladaptive schema and personality disorder traits in an offender population. Psychology, Crime and Law, 19(10), 933–946. doi:10.1080/106831­6X.2013.770852.

Goleman, D. (2011). Emoční inteligence. Praha: Metafora.

Halvorsen, M., Wang, C. E., Eisemann, M., & Waterloo, K. (2010). Dysfunctional attitudes and early maladaptive schemas as predictors of depression: A 9-year follow-up study. Cognitive Therapy & Research, 34(4), 368–379. doi:10.1007/s10608–009–92595.

Hamid, B., & Bahrami, H.E. (2011). The Evaluation of Prediction Potential Neuroticism and Extraversion According to Early Maladaptive Schemas. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 30 (2nd World Conference on Psychology, Counselling and Guidance – 2011), 524–529. doi:10.1016/j­.sbspro.2011.10­.102.

Hawke, L. D., & Provencher, M. D. (2011). Sschema theory and schema therapy in mood and anxiety disorders: a review. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 25(4), 257–276. doi:10.1891/0889–8391.25.4.257.

Janke, W. & Erdmannová, G. (2003). Strategie zvládání stresu – SVF 78. Praha: Testcentrum.

Lečbych, M. (2013). Rorschachova metoda. Praha: Grada.

Lečbych, M. & Pospíšilíková, K. (2012). Česká verze škály Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR): Pilotní studie posouzení vztahové vazby v dospělosti. E-psychologie [online], 6 (3), 1–11 [cit. 2013–12–31]. Dostupný z WWW: <http://e-psycholog.eu/…silikova.pdf>.

LeDoux, J. (1993). Emotional memory systems in the brain. Behavioral and Brain Research, 58, 1–2, 69–79.

Mason, O., Platts, H., & Tyson, M. (2005). Early maladaptive schemas and adult attachment in a UK clinical population. Psychology & Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 78(4), 549–564. doi:10.1348/147608­305X41371.

Oliveira, C. C., & Nobre, P. J. (2013). Cognitive structures in women with sexual dysfunction: The role of early maladaptive schemas. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10(7), 1755–1763. doi:10.1111/j.1743–6109.2012.02737.x.

Pinto-Gouveia, J., Castilho, P., Galhardo, A., & Cunha, M. (2006). Early Maladaptive Schemas and Social Phobia. Cognitive Therapy & Research, 30(5), 571–584. doi:10.1007/s10608–006–9027–8.

Roelofs, J., Onckels, L., & Muris, P. (2013). Attachment quality and psychopathological symptoms in clinically referred adolescents: the mediating role of early maladaptive schema. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 22(3), 377–385. doi:10.1007/s10826–012–9589-x.

Shorey, R. C., Anderson, S. E., & Stuart, G. L. (2012). Gender Differences in Early Maladaptive Schemas in a Treatment-Seeking Sample of Alcohol-Dependent Adults. Substance Use & Misuse, 47(1), 108–116.

Shorey, R. C., Brasfield, H., Anderson, S., & Stuart, G. L. (2014). The relation between trait mindfulness and early maladaptive schemas in men seeking substance use treatment. Mindfulness, January 2014. doi:10.1007/s12671–013–0268–9.

Shorey, R. C., Stuart, G. L., Anderson, S., & Strong, D. R. (2013). Changes in Early Maladaptive Schemas After Residential Treatment for Substance Use. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(9), 912–922. doi:10.1002/jclp­.21968.

Shorey, R., Stuart, G., & Anderson, S. (2013). Differences in early maladaptive schemas in a sample of alcohol- and opioid-dependent women: Do schemas vary across disorders? Addiction Research and Theory, 21(2), 132–140. doi:10.3109/160663­59.2012.703266.

Simard, V., Moss, E., & Pascuzzo, K. (2011). Early maladaptive schemas and child and adult attachment: A 15-year longitudinal study. Psychology & Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 84(4), 349–366. doi:10.1111/j.2044–8341.2010.02009.x.

Slaměník, I. (2011). Emoce a interpersonální vztahy. Praha: Grada.

Talee-Baktash, S., Yaghoubi, H., & Yousefi, R. (2013). Comparing the early maladaptive schemas and cognitive emotion regulation strategies in obsessive-compulsive disorder patients and healthy people. Feyz Journal of Kashan University of Medical Sciences, 17(5), 471–481.

Thimm, J. (2011). Personality and early maladaptive schemas: A five-factor model perspective. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 41(4), 373–380.

Virgil, Z., Bradley A., G., Randolph C., A., Teddi B., S., & Erin M., M. (2010). Trouble ahead, trouble behind: Narcissism and early maladaptive schemas. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 4296–103. doi:10.1016/j­.jbtep.2010.07­.004

Young, J. E., Klosko, J. S., & Weishaar, M. E. (2003). Schema therapy: a practitioner's gu­ide. New York: Guilford Press.

Young, J. E. (2014). Schema Therapy Inventories & Related Materials. New York: Schema Therapy Institute.

Show all Hide