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Early Maladaptive Schemas: A Comparison Between Bipolar Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder

Authors

  • Kristine Kahr Nilsson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Developmental and Applied Psychological Science (CeDAPS), the Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University, Denmark
    • Correspondence to: Kristine Kahr Nilsson, Center for Developmental and Applied Psychological Science (CeDAPS), the Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University, Denmark.

      E-mail: kkn@hum.aau.dk

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  • Krista Nielsen Straarup,

    1. Mood Disorders Clinic, Aarhus University Hospital, Risskov, Denmark
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  • Marianne Halvorsen

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Tromsø, Faculty of Health Science, Norway
    2. Department of Pediatric Rehabilitation, University Hospital of North Norway, Norway
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Abstract

Background

It is still unclear how bipolar disorder (BD) differentiates from major depressive disorder (MDD) outside major mood episodes. To further elucidate this area, the present study compared the two mood disorders in terms of early maladaptive schemas (EMSs) during remission.

Method

The sample consisted of 49 participants with BD and 30 participants with MDD who were currently in remission. The participants completed the Young Schema Questionnaire.

Results

The BD group scored significantly higher than the MDD group on seven EMSs: abandonment, failure to achieve, insufficient self-control, subjugation, unrelenting standards, enmeshment and entitlement.

Conclusion

By suggesting that EMSs are more severe in BD compared with MDD, the findings highlight potential vulnerabilities in BD, which merit further examination in terms of their underlying causes and potential treatment implications. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Key Practitioner Message

  • Early maladaptive schemas are relevant psychological dimensions to consider in remitted phases of major mood disorders.
  • Findings from the current study suggest that early maladaptive schemas are more prevalent in adults with bipolar disorder compared to adults with major depressive disorder when measured during remission.
  • Interventions targeting early maladaptive schemas may be valuable in treatment of bipolar disorder.

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