Early maladaptive schemas and <scp>ICD</scp> ‐11 <scp>CPTSD</scp> symptoms: Treatment considerations

Lee Greenblatt‐Kimron, Thanos Karatzias, Maya Yonatan, Adi Shoham, Philip Hyland, Menachem Ben‐Ezra, Mark Shevlin

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Objectives:  Early  maladaptive  schemas  (EMS)  can  result  from   adverse   interpersonal   traumatic   experiences.   The   ICD-11  updated  the  concept  of   disorders  following  traumatic   experiences   with   the  new   disorder   of    complex   post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). There is now a need to  develop  and  test  interventions  for  CPTSD.  An  essential  step  in  identifying  interventions  that  are  particularly  relevant to the treatment of  CPTSD is to explore psychological constructs associated more closely with CPTSD compared to PTSD. The current study explored the associations of  EMS with PTSD and CPTSD.
Design: The   sample   consisted   of    603   adults   (mean   age = 41.65, SD = 13.8), recruited through social media and e-mails, and who responded to an online questionnaire.
Methods:   Participants   completed   measures   of    demo-graphic,  traumatic  life  events,  EMS,  PTSD  and  CPTSD  symptoms.
Results:   Overall,   results   suggest   that   participants   with   CPTSD  present  with  higher  schema  elevations  across  all  schemas  compared  to  those  with  PTSD  or  no  diagnosis.  Secondly,   the   schemas  of    emotional   deprivation,   abandonment/instability,   social   isolation/alienation,   defective-ness/shame,   enmeshment/undeveloped   self,   subjugation,   emotional  inhibition  and  insufficient  self-control/self-discipline were significantly associated with the symptom clusters of   CPTSD.  Finally,  results  indicate  that  different  schemas  form  significant  associations  with  the  individual  symptom  clusters of  CPTSD.
Conclusions: Although  results  require  replication  in  clinical  samples,  initial  findings  suggest  that  specific  EMS  may  be important psychological correlates of  CPTSD symptoms. Wider   treatment considerations   of    these   findings   are   discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-128
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice
Issue number1
Early online date17 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 17 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The British Psychological Society.


  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • complex post-traumatic stress disorder
  • early maladaptive schemas
  • post-traumatic stress disorder


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