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Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 143–160 | Cite as

Refining strategies for research on self-representations in emotional disorders

  • Jeremy D. Safran
  • Zindel V. Segal
  • Cathy Hill
  • Valerie Whiffen
Article

Abstract

This article examines a number of conceptual and methodological issues relevant to the investigation of self-representations in emotional disorders, and suggests ways to refine this areas's research strategies. We first trace the influence of previous work in personality theory and cognitive sciences on cognitive models of clinical disorders, noting the central role of the schema contruct. Issues such as stimulus generation, subject selection, and the importance of priming cognitive structures before testing for their operation are highlighted as ways to access and capture the complexity of self-construal. In addition, schema conceptualizations and research are examined in light of ecological validity. We argue that schematic structures can be usefully compared to personal narratives which structure interpersonal experience. This view suggests that we move beyond the investigation of the way in which subjects process static stimuli and focus on how subjects process information about dynamic interpersonal events in which they themselves participate. Specific suggestions for research are provided.

Key words

schema self-representation cognition and emotional disorder design issues 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy D. Safran
    • 1
  • Zindel V. Segal
    • 1
  • Cathy Hill
    • 2
  • Valerie Whiffen
    • 3
  1. 1.University of TorontoCanada
  2. 2.University of British ColumbiaCanada
  3. 3.University of OttawaCanada

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