Disentangling beliefs about emotions from emotion schemas

J Clin Psychol. 2021 Apr;77(4):1068-1089. doi: 10.1002/jclp.23098. Epub 2020 Dec 15.


Objective: The current study sought to empirically evaluate a new clinical tool, the Individual Beliefs about Emotion (IBAE) which assesses nine beliefs about emotion. The goal was to examine the overlap of the IBAE with the Leahy Emotional Schema Scale (LESS), indices of psychopathology, and emotion dysregulation.

Method: Participants (n = 513) completed the IBAE, the LESS, and measures of affective distress, borderline personality features, and emotion dysregulation.

Results: Results indicated that both emotion beliefs (IBAE) and schemas (LESS) were influenced by age and gender. Both measures significantly predicted variance in affective distress, borderline symptoms, and emotion dysregulation, although the LESS was a stronger predictor.

Conclusion: We conclude that the LESS total score is a particularly useful measure of maladaptive schematic attitudes toward emotion, with additional evidence that the IBAE is a clinical tool that can be useful in psychotherapy to quickly assess a variety of emotion beliefs.

Keywords: emotion attitudes; emotion beliefs; emotion schemas; psychopathology.

MeSH terms

  • Borderline Personality Disorder*
  • Emotions*
  • Humans
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychotherapy