The preference for schema congruence: schema mode effects on interactions
AuthorCain, Kathryn Frances
AffiliationMelbourne School of Psychological Sciences
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2017 Dr Kathryn Frances Cain
Interpersonal relationships play a critical role in personal well-being. Investigation of the factors that determine who we interact with is important because it can provide insight into the nature of relationships that are characterised by interpersonal tension and that, in turn, detract from mental well-being. A range of models have been developed to explain who we choose to interact with, including self-enhancement, self-verification, the similarity-attraction hypothesis, and the complementarity model. This thesis explored the impact of schema modes on interpersonal interactions through four studies conducted with samples of Australian adults. The first study, an exploratory factor analysis of the Schema Mode Inventory, resulted in the extraction of 12 first-order, and three second-order, factors. The second study examined the associations between the 12 schema modes and the attachment dimensions described in the Experiences in Close Relationships - Revised scale. Results showed that the majority of schema modes were uniquely associated with anxious and/or avoidant attachment. The final two studies examined the associations between the schema modes and the level of irritation reported when a hypothetical person exhibits various schema mode characteristics and the opposite of those schema mode characteristics. As predicted, the results showed that interactions with others who have schema-congruent characteristics are less irritating than interactions with those who exhibit schema-incongruent characteristics. Overall the results of this research program indicate that individuals have a preference for interactions with others whose behaviours, emotions, and cognitions are consistent with their own schemas, even when those schemas are maladaptive. These findings may contribute to the understanding of causes of interpersonal tension. Knowledge of the social and personal implications of the role and nature of their schemas in everyday life may assist individuals to better manage social interactions and to improve their mental well-being.
Keywordsschema modes; interpersonal interactions; attachment
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