Early maladaptive schema (EMS), the dysfunctional life views regarding oneself or others, is relatively more prevalent in clinical populations and is related to avoidant behaviors (e.g., substance use). Avoidance is inconsistent with the acceptance of present-moment experiences characterized by mindfulness. As such, dispositional mindfulness negatively related to EMS in samples recruited from the community and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment facilities. However, past research used small or non-clinical samples with limited measures of mindfulness and analyses that preclude the possibility of tailoring future treatments to specific mindfulness deficits within a clinical sample.
The current study extended prior research by examining the relations between the five EMS domains and five different facets of dispositional mindfulness in a sample of men in a residential SUD treatment program (N = 752). We hypothesized that the EMS domains of impaired autonomy and performance, impaired limits, other-directedness, and disconnection and rejection would be negatively related to the mindfulness facet acting with awareness. Additionally, as an exploratory aim, it was hypothesized that the EMS domains would be negatively associated with most of the remaining mindfulness facets.
Path analyses revealed that the EMS domains of disconnection and rejection and overvigilance and inhibition negatively associated with acting with awareness, controlling for substance use. Additionally, impaired limits negatively related to the other four mindfulness facets and disconnection and rejection related to describing experience and observing experience.
Results suggest therapeutic interventions may need to be tailored to specific EMS domains and mindfulness facets within individuals in treatment for SUDs.