Early Maladaptive Schemas as Predictors of Child Anxiety: The Role of Child and Mother Schemas
International Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences,
Vol. 1 No. 2 (2014),
5 May 2015
This study investigated the relationship between symptoms of anxiety in children and early maladaptive schemas in children and their mothers. Early maladaptive schemas are dysfunctional ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that develop as a result of adverse experiences with significant others in childhood, and lead to a higher risk of psychopathology. A sample of 200 non-clinical children (aged 9-13 years) completed the SCARED (Birmaher et al., 1997) and SIC (Rijkeboer and De Boo, 2010), their mothers completed the YSQ-SF (Young 1998). The psychometric properties of the SCARED separation anxiety and social phobia scales were inadequate. Regression analyses found that child anxiety scores were mainly predicted by the child schemas of loneliness, submission and vulnerability, which are similar to the anxiety predictors identified in adult samples. The failure schema was strongly related to anxiety symptoms in girls. Differences in schema predictors were found between girls and boys, and between different anxiety scales. Mother schemas were generally poor predictors of child anxiety symptoms. Support was found for the proposal that the schemas of self-sacrifice and enmeshment may not be maladaptive in children. This study identified several early maladaptive schemas that are significantly related to child anxiety symptoms, but further research is required to establish the causal direction of these relationships. Research in clinical samples is recommended to determine whether specific child schemas can differentiate between different types of psychopathology. The reliability and validity of the SCARED in Iranian children is questionable, and requires further examination.
- Early maladaptive schemas
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