Early maladaptive schemas as predictors of interpersonal orientation and peer connectedness in university students
Gyesook Yoo (Kyung Hee University), Ju Hee Park and Hey Jung Jun (Yonsei University), 2014, 42(8), 1377–1394

In this study the focus was on whether or not early maladaptive schemas (EMS) can be used to predict interpersonal orientation and peer connectedness later in life. The university student participants completed scales to assess five maladaptive schemas, as follows: emotional deprivation, abandonment/instability, mistrust/abuse, social isolation/alienation, and defectiveness/shame, along with measures of interpersonal orientation and peer connectedness.

In prior studies of EMS there has been a strong focus on clinical populations, so the application here in a nonclinical population is valuable in adding to the existing literature. Nonclinical participants were also found to exhibit EMS, although the authors acknowledge that it is likely that the schemas would be more conspicuous in clinical populations. I would also be interested to see future comparisons between clinical and nonclinical populations in both Eastern and Western contexts to see if individualistic and collectivistic orientations influence the relationships among EMS, interpersonal orientation, and peer connectedness.

Reading further through the study, I found the following statement particularly noteworthy: “Individuals who, through their early experiences with significant others, come to view others as insecure and untrustworthy, may lack the motivation to seek interpersonal relationships” (p. 1391). The ability to connect with others, especially within one’s own peer group, is something that many struggle with at all stages of life. Learning to recognize the presence of maladaptive schemas and then use the tools described in this study to mitigate the effects of these, would be a useful tool in helping individuals to cope with their feelings of disconnection.

Sarah Jones, Marketing Manager   
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal