Early Maladaptive Schemas as Moderators of the Impact of Stressful Events on Anxiety and Depression in University Students

  • María CámaraEmail author
  • Esther Calvete


The aim of this study was to test the effects of early maladaptive schemas (EMS) derived from the Schema Therapy model (Young 1999) according to the diathesis-stress paradigm. We expected that EMS would make students more vulnerable to symptoms of depression and anxiety in the presence of stressful events and that the effects of these schemas would be different for each symptom. In particular, it was hypothesised that abandonment, emotional deprivation, defectiveness, and failure schemas would interact with stressful events to predict depressive symptoms, whereas abandonment, vulnerability to harm, and dependence schemas were expected to moderate anxiety symptoms. Due to gender differences in EMS and depressive and anxiety symptoms, we also expected that sex would act as a moderator of the relationships between EMS and symptoms. A two-wave prospective study showed that the presence of EMS constitutes a vulnerability factor for both, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and this effect was also moderated by sex. Moreover, the EMS’s content specificity revealed which schemas were more relevant to each symptom, providing valuable information for prevention and intervention programmes.


Schemas Anxiety Depression Stressful events University students 



This research was partially supported by a grant from the Ministerio de Ciencia y Innovación, Reference PSI2010-15714 (Spanish Government)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological TreatmentUniversity of DeustoBilbaoSpain

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