The association between early maladaptive schema and personality disorder traits in an offender population

Flora Jane Gilbert, Michael David Daffern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Schema-focused therapy has become an increasingly popular treatment for offenders with personality disorder (PD), although to date, there have been few studies examining the association between early maladaptive schema (EMS) and PD in forensic settings. Clarification of the relationship between EMS and PD in offenders is, therefore, necessary for effective treatment delivery in this area. The present study extended previous EMS research by investigating the relationship between individual- and domain-level EMS and the DSM-IV PDs, in particular, antisocial PD (ASPD) and borderline PD (BPD), in an offender population. A sample of offenders (n=87) undergoing pre-sentence evaluation were assessed on PD symptoms, EMS and depression, and correlation and regression analyses were conducted to examine the associations between the EMS and the PD dimensions. The results showed that the majority of PD dimensions were associated with individual EMS and that these relationships were idiosyncratic in nature. Relationships between ASPD symptoms and the Impaired Limits EMS domain and between BPD symptoms and the Disconnection/Rejection EMS domain were also identified. Overall, the results suggested that although Impaired Limits and Disconnection/Rejection EMS are common among offenders with ASPD and BPD, individually tailored assessment of the relationship between EMS and PD is critical.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933 - 946
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology, Crime and Law
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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