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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 231965, 7 pages
Research Article

Specific Dysphoric Symptoms Are Predicted by Early Maladaptive Schemas

1Scuola di Psicoterapia Cognitiva S.r.l., Viale Castro Pretorio 116, 00185 Roma, Italy
2IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, Via Ardeatina 306, 00142 Rome, Italy
3Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Via dei Marsi 78, 00185 Rome, Italy

Received 18 October 2013; Accepted 10 December 2013; Published 8 January 2014

Academic Editors: C. M. Beasley, C. Evren, R. R. Tampi, and A. J. Torres

Copyright © 2014 Roberta Trincas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Early maladaptive schemas (EMSs) are cognitive patterns resulting from unmet core emotional needs in childhood that have been linked to the development of psychopathology. As depression is a multifaceted phenomenon, we hypothesized that specific dysphoric symptoms would be predicted by different EMSs. Four hundred and fifty-six participants completed a measure of EMSs (Young Schema Questionnaire) and reported on the severity of the symptoms of criterion A for major depression in DSM-IV during the occurrence of a dysphoric episode in the previous 12 months. A series of stepwise multiple regression analyses were performed to investigate the predictive power of the EMSs for the severity of each specific depressive symptom. When controlling for gender and current levels of depression, specific symptoms were predicted by different EMSs: sadness by Negativity/Pessimism; anhedonia by Failure; self-harm by Emotional Deprivation and Vulnerability to Harm or Illness; worthlessness by Failure and Negativity/Pessimism; psychomotor retardation/restlessness by Vulnerability to Harm or Illness and Entitlement/Grandiosity; and poor concentration by Insufficient Self-Control/Self-Discipline. The more physical symptoms of fatigue, insomnia/hypersomnia, and appetite loss/appetite gain were not predicted by any of the EMSs. Although the cross-sectional design of the study does not allow for conclusions about the direction of effects, results suggest that depression is not a unitary phenomenon and provide a possible explanation for previous inconsistent findings.