The Effects of Temperament on Depression According to the Schema Model: A Scoping Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Jun 11;15(6):1231. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15061231.


Background: Recent studies have shown that not every depressed patient responds to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and some of those who do relapse upon termination. Due to its dual focus on the past and present, Schema Model (SM) represents a promising alternative model to understand depression. However, studies examining SM often operationalize the same construct differently, resulting in inconsistent evidence of change. There is no known review clarifying (1) how best to assess schema constructs; and (2) the relevant pathways to depression, without which, the empirical basis for SM cannot be examined. Methods: A scoping review was conducted in accordance to PRISMA guidelines to map evidence of the relationship between constructs of SM and depression, and measures used to assess the constructs. 2463 articles were identified with 49 primary research studies included. This paper is a subset of the scoping review and focuses on the five studies examining effects of temperament on depression. Results: Two models were used to operationalize temperament: The Five Factor Model (FFM) and the Psychobiological Model of Personality (PBM). The variables of neuroticism and harm avoidance were positively associated with depressive symptoms while self-directedness and cooperativeness were negative associated with depressive symptoms. Conclusion: The FFM is more suited to operationalize temperament in studies of SM and depression due to its theoretical compatibility with SM, established psychometric properties of its measures, and widespread use among studies of SM. Out of the five factors in the FFM, only neuroticism exerts direct and indirect effects on depression. These findings are limited by homogeneous sampling, hence future research studies should consider extending it to adult clinical samples. Nevertheless, this review represents a first step in the systematic examination of the empirical basis of SM and a contribution to treatment innovation and practice for depression.

Keywords: depression; major depressive disorder; personality; schema model; schema therapy; scoping review; temperament.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Temperament*