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Cognitive distortions mediate relationships between early maladaptive schemas and aggression in women and men
journal contributionposted on 2023-04-06, 05:00 authored by LS Huang, P Molenberghs, Alexander MussapAlexander Mussap
Difficult childhood experiences can lead to the development of early maladaptive schemas (EMS) that cause emotional and behavioral problems later in life. The present study examined the role of cognitive distortions in mediating relationships between EMS and aggression in adults as a function of sex. Participants were 59 women (Mage = 34.7 years, standard deviation [SD] = 8.0) and 86 men (Mage = 39.3 years, SD = 13.2) who completed the Young Schema Questionnaire—Short Form-V3, the How I Think Questionnaire of cognitive distortions, and the Buss–Warren Aggression Questionnaire. Multiple mediation analysis identified EMS domain impaired limits to be uniquely and directly related to aggression, and the domain impaired autonomy to be indirectly related via a range of cognitive distortions. Multigroup analyses revealed no sex differences in these relationships, and analysis of covariance with age as a covariate revealed no sex differences in levels of EMS, cognitive distortion, or aggression. The results suggest that impaired limits and impaired autonomy are EMS domains of relevance to aggression regardless of sex. Furthermore, in the case of impaired autonomy, self-serving, proaggression cognitive distortions appear to be involved. Interventions for aggression may thus benefit by focusing on clients with entitlement/grandiosity traits indicative of impaired limits, and vulnerability/dependence traits indicative of impaired autonomy, and in the latter case consider addressing the self-serving cognitions that enable the expression of aggression in these clients.