Maladaptive cognitive schemas associated with perceptions of family functioning




Bendo, Marcia

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Cognitive manifestations of personality functioning have recently been hypothesized as a critical dimension for understanding personality styles. Core cognitive schemas are believed to originate in early family experiences as the individual develops cognitive strategies and behavioral patterns in response to the environment. This research investigated perceptions of dyadic family processes associated with maladaptive cognitive schemas in a nonclinical population. The sample included 419 undergraduate students who completed a demographic questionnaire and two self-report instruments: the Young Schema Questionnaire (YSQ), a measure of 16 maladaptive schemas relevant to personality styles; and the California Inventory for Family Assessment (CIFA), a measure of dyadic family relationships which conceptually distinguishes cohesiveness from enmeshment with closeness-caregiving and intrusiveness constructs. Canonical correlations and multiple regression analyses revealed significant relationships between the CIFA scales and the YSQ schemas, domains, and total score. Higher endorsements of maladaptive schemas were negatively associated with perceptions of parental caregiving and positively associated with perceptions of parental intrusiveness. Multiple regression analyses examined the patterns of CIFA scales predicting higher endorsements for five schema domains: disconnection/rejection, impaired autonomy/performance, other directedness, overvigilance/inhibition, and impaired limits were inversely related to perceptions of parental caregiving described as nurturance, time together, and warmth; higher scores for the five domains were positively associated with perceptions of parental intrusiveness represented by emotional reactivity, projective assumptions, anger, and authority. Discriminant function analyses resulted in significant gender discriminations for schema endorsements and perceptions of parental behaviors. Males were distinguished by higher schema scores for emotional inhibition/overcontrol; females were distinguished by higher schema endorsements regarding insufficient self control/self discipline, self sacrifice, and enmeshment. CIFA variables distinguished gender with females recalling more maternal time spent with them, males reporting more maternal anger, and males perceiving more separation anxiety from both parents. Gender differences in the associations between CIFA scales and YSQ variables were examined by comparing multiple regression coefficients from all hypothesis tests. Comparisons were not significant suggesting that regression models for males and females had similar explanatory power. Results support the integration of cognitive, personality, and family theories for clinical applications in assessment, individual treatment, family interventions, and parenting education.



Social sciences, Psychology, Cognitive, Family functioning, Maladaptive