The current study aimed to examine the mediating role of early maladaptive schemas (EMSs) in the associations between types of childhood maltreatment and adulthood proneness to shame and guilt. A path analysis was tested to examine the direct and indirect effects of neglect, sexual abuse, and punishment on shame and guilt via EMSs of incompetence, failure, social isolation, emotional inhibition, and unrelenting standards, over and above gender. Data were collected from 415 university students (73% female) aged 18–26. Participants completed self-report measures of childhood maltreatment, EMSs, and shame and guilt. Neglect was indirectly associated with increased shame-withdraw via incompetence. Sexual abuse was directly associated with decreased guilt-repair. Punishment was indirectly associated with increased guilt-repair via unrelenting standards. Results identified different developmental pathways of proneness to shame and guilt and supported the mediating role of EMSs of incompetence and unrelenting standards. Findings provide support for treatments of shame that target childhood neglect and maladaptive schemas.
- Childhood maltreatment
- Maladaptive schemas
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology