Schema theory, innovative-integrative approach based on traditional cognitive-behavioral theory and practice, suggests that early maladaptive schemas are developed as a result of unmet emotional needs and negative experiences in childhood, and individuals organize their lives on the basis of these schemas. Early maladaptive schemas could be thought as cognitive structures shaped by early life experiences and inherited from the past, providing a roadmap for future experiences. Considering dysfunctional nature of early maladaptive schemas in adulthood, it is very crucial to determine how these cognitive schemas are developed in childhood. In this review, research on attachment styles and temperament, parenting styles, and childhood maltreatment experiences, which play a role in the formation of early maladaptive schemas, were reviewed and findings of the research were discussed in terms of theory and practice. Taken together, with schema therapy that provides opportunities to change early maladaptive schemas, we can reconsider the past, make the present healthier and protect the future.
Keywords: early maladaptive schemas, attachment, temperament, parenting styles, abuse and neglect, schema therapy