Internalizing and externalizing behaviors share a common predictor: the effects of early maladaptive schemas are mediated by coping responses and schema modes

Marjolein F van Wijk-Herbrink*, David P Bernstein, Nick J Broers, Jeffrey Roelofs, Marleen M Rijkeboer, Arnoud Arntz

*Corresponding author for this work

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We investigated the relationships of adolescents' internalizing and externalizing behaviors with their early maladaptive schemas (EMS), coping responses, and schema modes. We focused on EMS related to experiences of disconnection and rejection that comprise vulnerable emotions, such as shame, mistrust, deprivation, abandonment, and isolation/alienation. This cross-sectional study included a total of 699 adolescents (combined clinical and non-referred sample) who were 11 to 18 years old (M = 14.6; SD = 1.6), and of which 45% was male. All participants completed self-report questionnaires on EMS, coping responses, schema modes, and behavior problems. We aimed to clarify the relationships between these variables by testing mediation, moderation, and moderated mediation models. In general, coping responses functioned as mediators rather than moderators in the relationships between EMS and schema modes. Furthermore, EMS regarding experiences of disconnection and rejection were related to both internalizing and externalizing behavior problems, and coping responses and schema modes mediated these effects. In conclusion, although adolescent internalizing and externalizing behavior problems manifest quite differently, they seem related to the same EMS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-920
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Journal Article

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