Core Schemas and Suicidality in a Chronically Traumatized Population

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The Young Schema Questionnaire (YSQ) has been demonstrated to tap into core beliefs, or maladaptive schemas, of clinical populations. This study used the YSQ to investigate maladaptive schemas of 137 chronically traumatized patients seeking outpatient psychiatric treatment and to assess whether specific schemas might be associated with suicide risk in this population. Participants completed a modified version of the YSQ-S (short form), post-traumatic diagnostic scale, dissociative experiences scale and self-harm and risk behaviors questionnaire-revised at treatment intake. Significant correlations were found between most YSQ scales and the post-traumatic diagnostic scale, and between all YSQ scales and the dissociative experiences scale. Suicide risk variables were most highly correlated with the social isolation/alienation, defectiveness/shame and failure YSQ scales, suggesting that these schemas may mark individuals at particularly high risk for suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. These results offer important implications for the assessment and treatment of high-risk traumatized patients.

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