In cognitive therapy, a major aim is to alter maladaptive self-schemata that contribute to psychopathology (Clark, 2014). Although accurate assessment of self-schemata is critical, the few standardized measures that exist for assessing self-schemata lack sufficient content validity. For the self-schema construct, basic research reveals that self-knowledge is organized in the form of multiple self-with-other representations (e.g., self-with-friend, self-at-work; Andersen & Chen, 2002), with each individual self-schema possessing associative links to idiosyncratic scripts and goals (Baldwin & Dandeneau, 2005). However, existing self-schema measures such as the Young Schema Questionnaire (YSQ; Schmidt, Joiner, Young, & Telch, 1995) continue to assess single, generalized self-schematic beliefs (e.g., “I lack common sense”) and do not measure associated scripts or goals. In an effort to develop a more content valid measure that is more relevant to and representative of the self-schema construct, we developed the Relational Self-Schema Measure (RSSM). The RSSM has respondents identify multiple, highly accessible, self-with-other representations. For each individual self-schema, the respondent describes associated scripts and goals. In the present study, we examined the temporal reliability and construct validity of the RSSM. In study 1, 45 participants completed the RSSM on two separate occasions four months apart. We assessed the reliability of the RSSM by evaluating the extent to which people similar self-schemata, including similar scripts and goals, across these two time points. In study 2, we evaluated the RSSM’s construct validity by having 146 participants complete the RSSM, the Big Five Inventory (John, Naumann, & Soto, 2008), the Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire (Downey & Feldman, 1996), and the YSQ-Short Form (Schmidt et al., 1995). Initial findings provide preliminary support both for the temporal reliability and the construct validity of the RSSM.
Professor, Director of the Psychology Clinic
Washington State University PSYCHOLOGY DEPARTMENT