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The Higher-Order Structure of Schema Modes

In schema therapy, modes are proposed as a key concept and main target for treatment of personality disorders. The present study aimed to assess a comprehensive set of 20 modes, to explore their higher-order structure, and to link the mode factors to the generic schema factor and basic personality traits. The sample consisted of N = 533 inpatients. Earlier versions of the Schema Mode Inventory (SMI, SMI-2) were merged into the German Extended SMI (GE-SMI). Item-level confirmatory factor analyses indicated that the structure of 16 out of 20 GE-SMI scales might be unidimensional. Scale-level exploratory factor analysis revealed three hierarchically structured mode factors: internalization, externalization, and compulsivity. Regressing mode factor scores on the Big Five factors and the generic schema factor supported the validity of the mode factors. The hierarchical structure of modes will be linked to the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology, and implications for case conceptualization and treatment will be discussed.

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