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Early maladaptive schemas : the relationship with anxiety patterns, and perceived parental rearing behaviours.

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Since 2008 the prevalence rate of anxiety disorders has increased to 15,8%, thus putting them as the most prevalent class of psychiatric disorders in South Africa. This research firstly aimed to examine the relationship between Young’s Early Maladaptive Schemas (EMS) and four patterns of anxiety. The dimensions of anxiety included test anxiety, social anxiety, generalized anxiety and trait anxiety. Secondly, it aimed to examine the relationship between early maladaptive schemas and perceived parental rearing styles, as these are believed to influence an individual’s susceptibility to developing the early maladaptive schemas. The interest of the study centered on the student population of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN-PMB) as these dimensions were correctly thought to be prevalent in a student sample. The research utilised three questionnaires: firstly, a multidimensional anxiety scale; Young’s Schema Questionnaire (YSQ-S) and the Egna Minnen Betraffande Uppfostran (EMBU-s): (My Memories of My Upbringing). The results of this study established that test anxiety correlated well with the EMS of achievement, that social anxiety correlated well with EMS of self-evaluation, and generalized anxiety was found to correlate with specific EMS that could be the direct focus of excessive worry for university students. Finally, trait anxiety was found to be all encompassing and pervasive with it having the most significant and highest correlations with more EMS. The results regarding the perceived parental rearing behaviours found that the higher the levels of perceived parental rejection and overprotection, and lower levels of emotional warmth, the more inclined an individual is to develop an EMS. In conclusion, this study demonstrates the role that maladaptive cognitive schemas play in developing anxiety as well as the role that perceived parental rearing behaviours play in an individual developing an early maladaptive schema.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2013.


Child rearing., Parenting., Schemas (Psychology), Theses--Psychology., Anxiety in adolescence.