Gender differences in the relationship between self-schema and interpersonal schema in adolescent depression
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Based on Beck’s (1967, 1979) cognitive theory of depression and the constructs of self-schema and interpersonal schema, this study examined the relationships among self-schema, interpersonal schema, and depressive symptomatology in a clinical and control sample of adolescents. Gender differences were investigated as well. Participants for this study were 59 youngsters, ages 11 to 18, who were receiving psychological services in a residential treatment facility in Texas (n = 35) or were nonpsychiatric adolescents from local public schools (n = 24). Participants completed a semi-structured diagnostic interview (K-SADS-EP) and the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). Depression was assessed by the diagnostic interview. Self-schema and interpersonal schema were assessed through verbal transcript coding of the TAT. Results indicated that, while there was no significant difference between genders for self-schema, there were significant differences between the depressed and nondepressed groups on self-schema. The depressed adolescents had significantly more negative self-schema than nondepressed adolescents. Results indicated no significant interaction between gender and diagnostic group for self-schema. Results revealed that there were no significant differences between genders or diagnostic groups for interpersonal schema. Results indicated no significant interaction between gender and diagnostic group for interpersonal schema. Lastly, the investigation examined whether the constructs of self-schema and interpersonal schema are more highly correlated for girls than for boys. Results indicated that self-schema and interpersonal schema were not significantly correlated for boys or for girls. In addition, there was not a significant difference between the girls’ and boys’ correlations between self- and interpersonal schema. As the interpersonal schema coding system was created for the purposes of this investigation, it had not been used in prior studies. Despite the advantages of using verbal coding in order to avoid social desirability in responses, further research is needed regarding the coding system’s ability to measure interpersonal schema. This study was considered a step in understanding the relationship between self-schema, interpersonal schema, and depressive symptomatology in an adolescent population. Implications of these results are discussed, and directions for future research are offered.