An Exploration of Schemas, Stress, Mood, and Conflict in Women’s Close Relationships: Can the way we think prime emotions, promote stress, and provoke conflict?
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Early maladaptive schemas (EMS) are negative cognitions about the self that develop in accordance to one’s relationships with others and the world. EMS develop early in life in response to four childhood experiences (unmet needs, trauma, parental overindulgence, and internalization/identification) and contribute to psychological distress (e.g. depression and anxiety) and can affect one’s interpersonal relationships. Daily hassles are the seemingly routine life events that can lead to stress, such as tension in interpersonal relationships, workplace stress, or financial difficulties. Various relationships between past experiences of trauma, associated post-trauma symptoms, and early maladaptive schemas were hypothesized to significantly predict negative appraisal of daily hassles, an increase in negative affect, and an increase in destructive conflict strategies. One hundred eighty two female students were recruited to complete assessments measuring cognitive schemas, trauma history, daily hassles, depression, positive and negative mood states, and interpersonal conflict strategies. Regression analysis and tests for mediation and moderation were conducted to examine the various relationships between predictor and outcome variables. The support of these hypotheses provides greater understanding of the interaction between past and present experiences of stress and cognitive schemas as well as their impact on mood and interpersonal functioning.
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