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Clin Psychol Psychother. 2010 May-Jun;17(3):165-82. doi: 10.1002/cpp.690.

Role and treatment of early maladaptive schemas in Vietnam Veterans with PTSD.

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School of Psychology, Murdoch University, Perth, WA, Australia.


The role of early maladaptive schemas in understanding and treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was investigated. The first study examined the role of perceived adverse parenting and early maladaptive schemas in the development of PTSD in Australian and New Zealand Vietnam war veterans (n = 220). Veterans diagnosed with PTSD scored higher on the Young Schema Questionnaire (L3) and had higher scores on the Measure of Parental Style than veterans not diagnosed with PTSD. The results suggest that early maladaptive schemas have an important role in the development or maintenance of PTSD in Vietnam veterans. The second study measured at baseline, termination and 3 months the early maladaptive schemas, PTSD, anxiety and depression of war veterans (n = 54) participating in a PTSD group treatment programme that included schema-focused therapy. Scores on the PTSD Checklist, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and 17 schemas decreased significantly after treatment. Change scores for the schema treatment were compared with change scores of war veterans (n = 127) who had completed a manualized cognitive-behavioural therapy programme without schema-focused therapy. Pre-treatment measures were similar in both groups. Nevertheless, PTSD and anxiety improved more significantly for the schema-focused therapy group. Together, these findings support the feasibility of schema-focused therapy to assist veterans with PTSD.

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