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01-10-2012 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2012

Cognitive Therapy and Research 5/2012

Identification of Child Sexual Abuse Survivor Subgroups Based on Early Maladaptive Schemas: Implications for Understanding Differences in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Severity

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 5/2012
Hilary G. Harding, Erin E. Burns, Joan L. Jackson
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Portions of this work were presented at the 2010 World Congress of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.


Cognitive models have informed understanding of the development, maintenance, and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Limited research, however, has examined the relationship of early maladaptive schemas (EMS; Young in Cognitive therapy for personality disorders: A schema-focused approach (rev. ed.). Professional Resource Press, Sarasota, 1994) to PTSD among trauma survivors. The current study, using a sample of 127 female child sexual abuse (CSA) survivors, applied a model-based clustering procedure (Mclust; Fraley and Raftery in MCLUST Version 3 for R: Normal Mixture Modeling and Model-based Clustering, Technical Report No. 504, Department of Statistics, University of Washington, 2006) to the 15 subscales of the Young Schema Questionnaire-Short Form (YSQ-S; Young and Brown in Young Schema Questionnaire- short form. Cognitive Therapy Center, New York, 1994) and revealed three clusters differentiated primarily by level of schema elevation. Women in the cluster characterized by the highest schema scores reported the most severe PTSD symptoms. A discriminant analysis indicated that schemas of Mistrust/Abuse, Vulnerability to Harm, and Emotional Deprivation contributed most to distinguishing women differentiated on the basis of presumptive PTSD diagnostic status. Results underscore the importance of cognitive factors in the development and/or maintenance of PTSD symptoms and suggest possible treatment targets for cognitive therapy with CSA survivors.

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