Schema modes and childhood abuse in borderline and antisocial personality disorders

Department of Medical, Clinical and Experimental Psychology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.23). 09/2005; 36(3):240-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2005.05.006
Source: PubMed


Complex personality disorders (PDs) have been hypothesized to be characterized by alternating states of thinking, feeling and behavior, the so-called schema modes (Young, Klosko, & Weishaar (2003). Schema therapy: A practioner's guide. New York: Guilford). The present study tested the applicability of this model to borderline personality disorders (BPD) and antisocial personality disorders (APD), and related it to a presumed common etiological factor, childhood trauma. Sixteen patients with BPD, 16 patients with APD and 16 nonpatient controls (all 50% of both sexes) completed a Schema Mode Questionnaire assessing cognitions, feelings and behaviors characteristic of six schema modes. Participants were interviewed to retrace abusive sexual, physical and emotional events before the age of 18. BPD as well as APD participants were characterized by four maladaptive modes (Detached Protector, Punitive Parent, Abandoned/Abused Child and Angry Child). APD displayed most characteristics of the Bully/Attack mode, though not significantly different from BPD. The Healthy Adult mode was of low presence in BPD and of high presence in APD and the nonpatients. Frequency and severity of the three kinds of abuse were equally high in both PD groups, and significantly higher than in nonpatients.

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Available from: Arnoud Arntz, Jan 08, 2014
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    • "Table 1 depicts the hypothesized PD–mode correlations. These are based on theoretical presumptions (Arntz & Young, 2007; Young et al., 2003) and earlier studies by Arntz et al. (2005) and Lobbestael et al. (2005). "

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    • "Cognitive - behavioural interventions for the treatment of personality disorder have increased in sophistication and impact over the last decade ( Livesley , 2008 ) . Schema - based therapies hold promise with offenders ( Bernstein , Arntz , & de Vos , 2007 ; Lobbestael , Arntz , & Sieswerda , 2005 ; Richardson , 2005 ; Tarrier et al . , 2010 ) , because of their potential to alter deeply entrenched belief systems that underpin both personality disorder and offending , thus bringing together in treatment the key risk factors identified by Hanson and Morton - Bourgon ( 2005 ) . "
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