Early maladaptive schemas and child and adult attachment: a 15-year longitudinal study

Année :


Simard V, Moss E, Pascuzzo K. (2011). Early maladaptive schemas and child and adult attachment: a 15-year longitudinal study. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. 84: 349-366.


Objectives : To examine the relation between early maladaptive schemas (EMS), as defined in schema therapy, and both child and adult attachment. Design : A 15‐year longitudinal design in which child attachment groups (secure, avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganized) were compared in early adulthood on their profile of scores across EMS domains. A similar strategy was used to examine EMS profiles as a function of adult attachment groups (secure, preoccupied, and fearful). Methods : Sixty participants, recruited from Montreal day‐care centres, were assessed at 6 (Time 1) and 21 years of age (Time 2). Time 1 attachment was assessed using a separation–reunion procedure and Time 2 attachment, using the Experiences in Close Relationships questionnaire. EMS were evaluated with the Young Schema Questionnaire (Time 2). Results : There were more signs of EMS among young adults with either an insecure ambivalent child attachment, or an insecure preoccupied adult attachment style, compared to their secure peers. These differences were not specific to one domain of EMS; they were reported for various EMS. Conclusions : The results suggest that specific elements of representational models are more likely to be related to the development of EMS: high anxiety over abandonment, negative self‐view, and explicit manifestations of personal distress. Unmet childhood needs for secure attachment may lead to a large variety of EMS as defined in schema therapy.