Objectives: To investigate schema modes currently activated in individuals with psychiatric disorders and to attain a greater understanding of healthy and dysfunctional schema modes in this population. Furthermore, we wish to ascertain if individuals who fulfil criteria for clinical (psychiatric) disorders with the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), also manifest dysfunctional modes and weaker healthy modes on the Schema Mode Inventory (SMI).
Method: Fifty individuals were administered the MMPI and SMI during routine psychological assessments between September 2008 and June 2010.
Results: Both healthy schema modes (Happy Child (HC) and dysfunctional schema modes (Compliant Surrender (CS), Detached Self-soother (DSS) and Demanding Parent (DP)) were evident in this population. Positive correlations were noted between several dysfunctional schema modes from the Child, Maladaptive Coping and Maladaptive Parent domains of the SMI and several scales of the MMPI including: Depression (D), Psychopathic deviate (Pd), Masculine feminine (Mf), Paranoia (Pa), Psychasthenia (Ps), Mania (Ma), Schizophrenia (Sc), and Social introversion (Si) (p < 0.001). A negative correlation (p < 0.001) was found between the Healthy Adult (HA) and Happy Child (HC) schema modes of the SMI and the Hypochondriasis (Hs), Depression (D), Psychopathic deviate (Pd), Psychasthenia (Pt), and Social introversion (Si) scales of MMPI.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates the presence of several dysfunctional schema modes in individuals with a wide range of clinical (psychiatric) disorders and a strong correlation between dysfunctional schema modes and clinical disorders of the MMPI. The SMI can aid in the assessment and understanding of individuals with a wide range of psychiatric disorders and can also form the basis for Schema Focused Therapy (SFT), a therapy showing promise for a number of clinical conditions, particularly borderline personality disorder.