Background. Traditional instruments that measure self-esteem may not relate directly to the schema construct as outlined in recent cognitive models. The Brief Core Schema Scales (BCSS) aim to provide a theoretically coherent self-report assessment of schemata concerning self and others in psychosis. The scales assess four dimensions of self and other evaluation: negative-self, positive-self, negative-other, positive-other.
Method. We analysed the psychometric properties of the BCSS using a sample of 754 students recruited by email and 252 people with psychosis recruited as part of a trial of cognitive therapy. We report the internal consistency, stability and the factor structure of the scale, and the association of the BCSS with measures of self-esteem and with symptoms of paranoia and grandiosity.
Results. The BCSS have good psychometric properties and have more independence from mood than the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Schedule. People with chronic psychosis reported extreme negative evaluations of both self and others on these scales, but their levels of self-esteem and positive evaluations of self and others were similar to the student sample.
Conclusions. Extreme negative evaluations of self and others appear to be characteristic of the appraisals of people with chronic psychosis, and are associated with symptoms of grandiosity and paranoia in the non-clinical population. The BCSS may provide a more useful measure of schemata about self and others than traditional measures of self-esteem.