Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Projects and researches
Published: 2021-06-19

The role of cognitive schemas in the relationship between attachment style and emotional intelligence

University of Bucharest, Department of Psychology
attchment styles emotional intelligence cognitive schemas


The current study focuses on the idea that the relationship between attachment styles and emotional intelligence can be influenced by cognitive schemas. It is well known that the first interaction between the child and his mother lays the foundations of attachment. The extent to which it develops guides the individual throughout his life making him responsible for his own actions and decisions. In this way studying the three variables becomes the main objective of the study. The data were collected on an online form, using the snowball method by which subjects were able to share the questionnaire to acquaintances to gather a larger number of people. The study was attended by 281 people aged between 18 to 40 years, M = 21.98, SD = 4.10, of   which,   52   were  males  (18.50%)  and  229  females (81.50%), 134 were single (47.69%) and 147 were in a relationship (52.31%), 48 people come from single-parent families (17.08%) and 233 come from two-parent families (82.92%). The results were as expected, secure attachment constitutes a significant positive predictor of emotional intelligence while the anxious attachment was a significant negative predictor of emotional intelligence. The results also showed that avoidant attachment would be a significant positive predictor of emotional intelligence. Following the results it was observed that there is a mediation between cognitive schema and the relationship between attachment styles and emotional intelligence. The secure attachment style was significantly negatively associated with all three types of schemas as expected.


  1. Ak, M., Lapsekili, N., Haciomeroglu, B., Sutcigil, L., & Turkcapar, H. (2012). Early maladaptive schemas in bipolar disorder: Schemas in bipolar disorder. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 85(3), 260–267. 8341.2011.02037.x
  2. Anders, S. L., & Tucker, J. S. (2000). Adult attachment style, interpersonal communication competence, and social support. Personal Relationships, 7(4), 379–389.
  3. Baldwin, M. W., & Fehr, B. (1995). On the instability of attachment style ratings. Personal Relationships, 2(3), 247–261. tb00090.x
  4. Ball, S. A. (2007). Cognitive-behavioural and schema-based models for the treatment of substance use disorders. In L. P. Riso, P. L. du Toit, D. J. Stein, & J. E. Young (Eds.), Cognitive schemas and core beliefs in psychological problems: A scientist practitioner guide (pp. 111–138). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  5. Beck, A. T., & Weishaar, M. (2005). Cognitive therapy. In R. J. Corsini & D. Wedding (Eds.), Current psychotherapies
  6. (p. 238–268). Thomson Brooks/Cole Publishing Co.
  7. Beck, A. T., & Haigh, E. A. P. (2014). Advances in Cognitive Theory and Therapy: The Generic Cognitive Model. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 10(1), 1–24.
  8. Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive Therapy of Depression. New York: Guilford.
  9. Beck, J. S. (1995). Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond. New York: Guilford.
  10. Bosmans, G., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Vervliet, B., Verhees, M. W. F. T., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2020). A learning theory of attachment: Unraveling the black box of attachment development. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 113, 287–298.
  11. Bosmans, G., Braet, C., & Van Vlierberghe, L. (2010). Attachment and symptoms of psychopathology: Early maladaptive schemas as a cognitive link? Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 17(5), 374–385.
  12. Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment and loss: Retrospect and prospect. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 52(4), 664– 678.
  13. Bowlby, J. (1988). A Secure Base: Parent–Child Attachment and Healthy Human Development. New York: Basic Books.
  14. Caltabiano, M. L., & Grosset, C. (2009). Attachment, Coping and Life Satisfaction amongst Tertiary Students.
  15. Cherniss, C., Extein, M., Goleman, D., & Weissberg, R. P. (2006). Emotional Intelligence: What Does the Research Really Indicate? Educational Psychologist, 41(4), 239–245.
  16. Clark, D. A., Beck, A. T., & Alford, B. A. (1999). Scientific Foundations of Cognitive Theory and Therapy of Depression. Philadelphia, PA: Wiley.
  17. Dimitriu, O., & Negrescu, M. (2015). Emotional Intelligence and the Tendency to Use Dysfunctional Cognitive Schemas. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 187, 301–306.
  18. DiTommaso, E., Brannen-McNulty, C., Ross, L., & Burgess, M. (2003). Attachment styles, social skills and loneliness in young adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 35(2), 303– 312. 8869(02)00190-3
  19. Doinita, N. E. (2015). Adult Attachment, Self-esteem and Emotional Intelligence. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences,
  20. , 570–574.
  21. Dozois, D. J. A., & Beck, A. T. (2008). Cognitive Schemas, Beliefs and Assumptions. In Risk Factors in Depression (pp. 119–143). Elsevier. 045078-0.00006-X
  22. Egeci, I. S., & Gencoz, T. (2011). The Effects of Attachment Styles, Problem-Solving Skills, and Communication Skills on Relationship Satisfaction. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 30,2324–2329.
  23. Esmali Kooraneh, A., & Amirsardari, L. (2015). Predicting Early Maladaptive Schemas Using Baumrind’s Parenting Styles. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 9(2).
  24. Fischer, T. D., Smout, M. F., & Delfabbro, P. H. (2016). The relationship between psychological fexibility, early maladaptive schemas, perceived parenting and psychopathology. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 5(3), 169–177.
  25. Fouladi, M. (2015). Prediction of depression through early maladaptive schemas. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences,6(1), 602–611.
  26. Gay, L. E., Harding, H. G., Jackson, J. L., Burns, E. E., & Baker, B. D. (2013). Attachment Style and Early Maladaptive Schemas as Mediators of the Relationship between Childhood Emotional Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 22(4), 408– 424.
  27. Goleman, D. (2012). Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Random House Publishing Group.
  28. Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. E., & McKee, A. (2013). Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. Harvard Business Press.
  29. Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., & McKee, A. (2002). The emotional reality of teams. Journal of Organizational Excellence, 21(2), 55–65.
  30. Greenberg, M. T., Siegel, J. M., & Leitch, C. J. (1983). The nature and importance of attachment relationships to parents and peers during adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 12(5), 373–386.
  31. Grewal, D., & Salovey, P. (2005). Feeling Smart: The Science of Emotional Intelligence: A new idea in psychology has matured and shows promise of explaining how attending
  32. to emotions can help us in everyday life. American Scientist, 93(4), 330–339.
  33. Harris, A. E., & Curtin, L. (2002). Parental Perceptions, Early Maladaptive Schemas, and Depressive Symptoms in Young Adults. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 26(3), 405–416.
  34. Hawkins, A. C., Howard, R. A., & Oyebode, J. R. (2007). Stress and coping in hospice nursing staff. The impact of attachment styles. Psycho-Oncology, 16(6), 563–572.
  35. Howard, M. S., & Medway, F. J. (2004). Adolescents’ attachment and coping with stress. Psychology in the Schools, 41(3), 391–402.
  36. IBM Corp. (2013) IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 22.0. IBM Corp., Armonk, NY.
  37. Ingram, R. E. (2003). Origins of cognitive vulnerability to depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 27, 77 – 88.
  38. Janssen, C. G. C., Schuengel, C., & Stolk, J. (2002). Understanding challenging behaviour in people with severe and profound intellectual disability: A stress- attachment model. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 46(6), 445–453. 2788.2002.00430.x
  39. Jones, S. M. (2005). Attachment Style Differences and Similarities in Evaluations of Affective Communication Skills and Person‐centered Comforting Messages. Western Journal of Communication, 69(3), 233–249.
  40. Kafetsios, K. (2004). Attachment and emotional intelligence abilities across the life course. Personality and Individual Differences, 37(1) 129–145.
  41. Kamel Abbasi, A. R., Tabatabaei, S. M., Aghamohammadiyan Sharbaf, H., & Karshki, H. (2016). Relationship of Attachment Styles and Emotional Intelligence With Marital Satisfaction. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 10(3).
  42. Kawamoto, T. (2020). The moderating role of attachment style on the relationship between self-concept clarity and self-esteem. Personality and Individual Differences, 152, 109604.
  43. Kaya, Y., & Aydin, A. (2021). The Mediating Role of Early Maladaptive Schemas in the Relationship Between Attachment and Mental Health Symptoms of University Students. Journal of Adult Development, 28(1), 15–24.
  44. Ke, T., & Barlas, J. (2020). Thinking about feeling: Using trait emotional intelligence in understanding the associations between early maladaptive schemas and coping styles. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 93(1), 1–20.
  45. Kim, J. U., & Kishore, R. (2019). Do we Fully Understand Information Systems Failure? An Exploratory Study of the Cognitive Schema of IS Professionals. Information Systems Frontiers, 21(6),1385–1419.
  46. Kuiper, N. A., & Olinger, L. J. (1986). Dysfunctional attitudes and a self-worth contingency model of depression. In P. C. Kendall (Ed.), Advances in Cognitive-Behavioral Research and Therapy (Vol. 5, pp. 115 – 142). New York: Academic Press.
  47. Láng, A. (2015). Machiavellianism and early maladaptive schemas in adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences, 87, 162–165.
  48. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Thompson, K., Selwyn, C., Finnegan, H., & Misra, T. (2017). Maladaptive schemas mediate poor parental attachment and suicidality in college students. Death Studies, 41(6), 337–344.
  49. Ledoux, T., Winterowd, C., Richardson, T., & Clark, J. D. (2010). Relationship of negative self-schemas and attachment styles with appearance schemas. Body Image, 7(3), 213–217.
  50. Leung, P. W. L., & Poon, M. W. L. (2001). Dysfunctional Schemas and Cognitive Distortions in Psychopathology: A Test of the Specificity Hypothesis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 42(6), 755–765.
  51. Lieberman, A. F., & Zeanah, C. H. (1995). Disorders of Attachment in Infancy. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 4(3), 571–587.
  52. Lopez, F. G., Mauricio, A. M., Gormley, B., Simko, T., & Berger, E. (2001). Adult Attachment Orientations and College Student Distress: The Mediating Role of Problem Coping Styles. Journal of Counseling & Development, 79(4), 459–464
  53. Lussier, Y., Sabourin, S., & Turgeon, C. (1997). Coping Strategies as Moderators of the Relationship between Attachment and Marital Adjustment. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 14(6), 777–791.
  54. Lyons-Ruth, K., & Jacobvitz, D. (2008). Attachment Disorganization: Genetic factors, parenting contexts and developmental transformations from infancy to adulthood. Mayer, J. D., Caruso, D. R., & Salovey, P. (1999). Emotional intelligence meets traditional standards for an intelligence. Intelligence, 27(4), 267–298.
  55. McCarthy, C. J., Moller, N. P., & Fouladi, R. T. (2001). Continued Attachment to Parents: Its Relationship to Affect Regulation and Perceived Stress Among College Students. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 33(4), 198–213.
  56. Meyer, B., & Pilkonis, P. A. (2001). Attachment style. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice,Training, 38(4), 466–472. Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P.R. (2007). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change. New York: Guilford Press
  57. Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2007). Boosting Attachment Security to Promote Mental Health, Prosocial Values, and Inter-Group Tolerance. Psychological Inquiry, 18(3), 139– 156.
  58. Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2009). An attachment and behavioral systems perspective on social support. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 26(1), 7–19.
  59. Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2012). Attachment Theory Expanded: A Behavioral Systems Approach. In K. Deaux & M. Snyder (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology (pp. 466–492). Oxford University Press.
  60. Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2012). Adult Attachment Orientations and Relationship Processes. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 4(4), 259–274.
  62. Muetzelfeld, H., Megale, A., & Friedlander, M. L. (2020). Problematic Domains of Romantic Relationships as a Function of Attachment Insecurity and Gender. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 41(1), 80–90.
  63. Ninivaggi, F. J. (2020). Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness. In Learned Mindfulness (pp. 47–71). Elsevier.
  64. Obeid, S., Haddad, C., Akel, M., Fares, K., Salameh, P., & Hallit, S. (2019). Factors associated with the adults’ attachment styles in Lebanon: The role of alexithymia, depression, anxiety, stress, burnout, and emotional intelligence. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 55(4), 607– 617.
  65. Pellerone, M., Iacolino, C., Mannino, G., Formica, I., & Zabbara, S. (2017). The influence of parenting on maladaptive cognitive schema: A cross-sectional research on a group of adults. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, Volume 10, 47–58.
  66. Petrocelli, J. V., Glaser, B. A., Calhoun, G. B., & Campbell, L. F. (2001). Early Maladaptive Schemas of Personality Disorder Subtypes. Journal of Personality Disorders, 15(6), 546–559.
  67. Pinto-Gouveia, J., Castilho, P., Galhardo, A., & Cunha, M. (2006). Early Maladaptive Schemas and Social Phobia. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 30(5), 571–584.
  68. Roelofs, J., Onckels, L., & Muris, P. (2013). Attachment Quality and Psychopathological Symptoms in Clinically Referred Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Early Maladaptive Schema. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22(3), 377–385.
  69. Romaniello, C., Farinelli, M., Matera, N., Bertoletti, E., Pedone, V., & Northoff, G. (2015). Anxious attachment style and hopelessness as predictors of burden in caregivers of patients with disorders of consciousness: A pilot study. Brain Injury, 29(4), 466–472.
  70. Salovey, P., & Grewal, D. (2005). The Science of Emotional Intelligence. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(6), 281–285. 7214.2005.00381.x
  71. Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. D. (1990). Emotional Intelligence. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 9(3), 185–211.
  72. Samadi, R. G., kasaei, F., & Pour, E. M. (2013a). Attachment Styles as a Predictor of Emotional Intelligence. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 84, 1712–1715.
  73. Schmidt, N. B., Joiner, T. E., Young, J. E., & Telch, M. J. (1995). The schema questionnaire: Investigation of psychometric properties and the hierarchical structure of a measure of maladaptive schemas. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 19(3),295–321.
  74. Scott, R. L., & Cordova, J. V. (2002). The influence of adult attachment styles on the association between marital adjustment and depressive symptoms. Journal of Family Psychology, 16(2), 199–208.
  75. Shorey, R. C., Anderson, S. E., & Stuart, G. L. (2012). Gender Differences in Early Maladaptive Schemas in a Treatment-Seeking Sample of Alcohol-Dependent Adults. Substance Use & Misuse, 47(1), 108–116.
  76. Terzi, Ş. (2013). Secure attachment style, coping with stress and resilience among university students. 14.
  77. The jamovi project (2021). jamovi. (Version 1.6) [Computer Software]. Retrieved from
  78. Theisen, J. C., Fraley, R. C., Hankin, B. L., Young, J. F., & Chopik, W. J. (2018). How do attachment styles change from childhood through adolescence? Findings from an accelerated longitudinal Cohort study. Journal of Research in Personality, 74,141–146.
  79. Wei, M., Heppner, P. P., & Mallinckrodt, B. (2003). Perceived coping as a mediator between attachment and psychological distress: A structural equation modeling approach. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50(4), 438– 447.
  80. Wijk-Herbrink, M. F. V., Bernstein, D. P., Broers, N. J., Roelofs, J., Rijkeboer, M. M., & Arntz, A. (2018). Internalizing and externalizing behaviors share a common predictor: The efects of early maladaptive schemas are mediated by coping responses and schema modes. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 46, 907–920.
  81. Yoosefi, N., Etemadi, O., Bahrami, F., Fatehizade, M. A.-S., & Ahmadi, S. A. (2010). An Investigation on Early Maladaptive Schema in Marital Relationship as Predictors of Divorce. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 51(5), 269–292.
  82. Young, J. E. (1994). Cognitive therapy for personality disorders: A schema-focused approach. Sarasota: Professional Resource Press.
  83. Young, J. E. (1999). Cognitive Therapy for Personality Disorders: A Schema-Focused Approach (3rd ed.). Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Press.
  84. Young, J. E., & Brown, G. (2003). Young schema questionnaire. New York: Cognitive Therapy Center of New York.

How to Cite

Scarlat, E. M. (2021). The role of cognitive schemas in the relationship between attachment style and emotional intelligence. Studia Doctoralia, 12(1), 54–69.