International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 17 Num. 1 - March 2017


Relationships between Early Maladaptive Schemas, Mindfulness, Self-compassion, and Psychological Distress

Volume 17 Num. 1 - March 2017 - Pages 3-17


Jens C Thimm


Early maladaptive schemas (EMSs) are maladaptive beliefs about oneself and one’s relationships with others that originate from adverse childhood experiences and lead to psychological distress when activated. Schema therapy (ST) was developed to treat EMSs and maladaptive coping responses to the triggering of EMSs. Mindfulness-based interventions are increasingly used in ST. The purpose of the present study was to explore the relationships between EMSs, mindfulness, self-compassion, and psychological distress. The Young Schema Questionnaire (YSQ-S3), the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ-SF), the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS-SF), and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) were administered to 212 undergraduate psychology students (mean age= 21.8 years, SD= 4.4). The results showed negative associations between EMSs and mindfulness and self-compassion. Mindfulness and self-compassion mediated, but did not moderate, the associations between EMSs and psychological distress. It is concluded that low mindfulness and low self-compassion are mechanisms through which EMSs exert their effect on psychological distress. These findings support the use of techniques aimed at enhancing mindfulness and self-compassion in the treatment of EMSs.

Key words:

early maladaptive schemas, mindfulness, self-compassion, psychological distress, mediation

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