Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Mediating Role of Early Maladaptive Schemas in the Relation between Quality of Attachment Relationships and Symptoms of Depression in Adolescents

  • Jeffrey Roelofs (a1), Chris Lee (a2), Tamara Ruijten (a3) and Jill Lobbestael (a1)


Background: Quality of attachment relations between adolescents and their parents and peers may be related to early maladaptive schemas as well as to symptoms of depression. Aims: The aim of the current study was to assess whether schema domains and maladaptive schemas mediate the relation between indices of quality of attachment relationships with parents and peers and symptoms of depression in non-clinical adolescents (N = 222). Method: A battery of questionnaires was completed, including measures of quality of attachment relations, maladaptive schemas, and depression. Results: The schema domains of disconnection and rejection and other-directedness mediated the relation between quality of attachment relationships and symptoms of depression. More precisely, the schemas’ mistrust/abuse and social isolation mediated the relation between trust in parents and depressive symptoms, whereas the schemas’ social isolation and self-sacrifice mediated the relation between alienation from peers and symptoms of depression. Conclusions: The mediation analyses suggest that treatment of adolescent depression could be focused on both attachment bonds and on changing maladaptive schemas.


Corresponding author

Reprint requests to Jeffrey Roelofs, Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, PO Box 616 6200 MD, Maastricht 6200 MD, The Netherlands. E-mail:


Hide All
Alloy, L. B., Abramson, L. Y., Smith, J. M., Gibb, B. E. and Neeren, A. M. (2006). Role of parenting and maltreatment histories in unipolar and bipolar mood disorders: mediation by cognitive vulnerability to depression. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 9, 2364.
Ambrosini, P. J., Metz, C., Bianchi, M. D., Rabinovich, H. and Undie, A. (1991). Concurrent validity and psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory in outpatient adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 30, 5157.
Armsden, G. C. and Greenberg, M. T. (1987). The inventory of parent and peer attachment: individual differences and their relationship to psychological well-being in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 16, 427454.
Baron, R. M. and Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 11731182.
Beck, A. T. (1964). Thinking and depression: 2. theory and therapy. Archives of General Psychiatry, 10, 561571.
Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A. and Brown, G. K. (1996). Manual for the Beck Depression Inventory II. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.
Bosmans, G., Braet, C. and van Vlierberghe, L. (2010). Attachment and symptoms of psychopathology: early maladaptive schemas as a cognitive link? Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 17, 374385.
Diamond, G., Siqueland, L. and Diamond, G. M. (2003). Attachment-based family therapy for depressed adolescents: programmatic treatment development. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 6, 107127.
Green, J. and Goldwyn, R. (2002). Attachment disorganisation and psychopathology: new findings in attachment research and their potential implications for developmental psychopathology in childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43, 835846.
Gullone, E. and Robinson, K. (2005). The inventory of parent and peer attachment – revised (IPPA-R) for children: a psychometric investigation. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 12, 6779.
Little, T. D., Bovaird, J. A. and Card, N. A. (2007). Modeling Contextual Effects in Longitudinal Studies. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Lumley, M. N. and Harkness, K. L. (2007). Specificity in the relations among childhood adversity, early maladaptive schemas, and symptom profiles in adolescent depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 31, 639657.
Margolese, S. K., Markiewicz, D. and Doyle, A. B. (2005). Attachment to parents, best friends, and romantic partner: predicting different pathways to depression in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34, 637650.
Mash, E. J. and Dozois, D. J. A. (2003). Child psychopathology: a developmental-systems perspective. In: Mash, E. J. and Barkley, R. A., Child Psychopathology (2nd edn.) (pp. 374). New York: The Guilford Press.
Muris, P. (2006). Maladaptive schemas in non-clinical adolescents: relations to perceived parental rearing behaviours, Big Five personality factors and psychopathological symptoms. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 13, 405413.
Muris, P., Meesters, C. M. G., van Melick, M. and Zwambag, L. (1991). Self-reported attachment style, attachment quality, and symptoms of anxiety and depression in young adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences, 30, 809818.
Preacher, K. J. and Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 879891.
Riso, L. P., du Toit, P. L., Stein, D. J. and Young, J. E. (2007). Cognitive Schemas and Core Beliefs in Psychological Problems: a scientist-practitioner guide. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Roberts, J. E., Gotlib, I. H. and Kassel, J. D. (1996). Adult attachment security and symptoms of depression: the mediating roles of dysfunctional attitudes and low self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 310320.
Rubin, K. H. and Mills, R. (1988). The many faces of social isolation in childhood. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 916924.
Shah, R. and Waller, G. (2000). Parental style and vulnerability to depression: the role of core beliefs. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 188, 1925.
Stice, E., Ragan, J. and Randall, P. (2004). Prospective relations between social support for depression: differential direction of effects for parent and peer support. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113, 155159.
Van Der Does, A. J. W. (2002). Handleiding bij de Nederlandse versie van Beck Depression Inventory (2nd edn.) (BDI-II-NL). Amsterdam, NL: Harcourt.
van Vlierberghe, Braet, C., Bosmans, G., Rosseel, Y. and Bögels, S. (2010). Maladaptive schemas and psychopathology in adolescence: on the utility of Young's schema theory in youth. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 34, 316332.
Young, J. E. (1994). Cognitive Therapy for Personality Disorders: a schema focused approach (2nd edn.). Sarasota: Professional Resource Exchange.
Young, J. E. and Brown, G. (1990). Young Schema Questionnaire. New York: Cognitive Therapy Center of New York.
Young, J. E., Klosko, J. S. and Weishaar, M. (2003). Schema Therapy: a practitioner's guide. New York: Guilford Publications.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

The Mediating Role of Early Maladaptive Schemas in the Relation between Quality of Attachment Relationships and Symptoms of Depression in Adolescents

  • Jeffrey Roelofs (a1), Chris Lee (a2), Tamara Ruijten (a3) and Jill Lobbestael (a1)
Submit a response


No Comments have been published for this article.


Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *