Positive perceptions of parenting and their links to theorized core emotional needs

John P. Louis, Adam T. Davidson, George Lockwood, Alex Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Central to the theory underpinning schema therapy is a hierarchically structured model where maladaptive and adaptive schemas are manifestations of higher order core emotional needs which emerge through specific parenting conditions. Despite widespread use in therapy, the hierarchical model of adaptive schemas has not been tested nor has it been linked to recollections of positive parenting patterns. In Study 1, both single and multigroup confirmatory factor analysis on Eastern (Singapore, n = 628; Kuala Lumpur, n = 229) and Western (United States, n = 214) samples tested the hierarchical structure of positive schemas and provided further evidence of four types of core emotional needs. They ran in parallel with the previously established four negative counterparts of unmet core emotional needs derived from other studies of second order maladaptive schemas. Since schemas theoretically develop during childhood, Study 2 explored links between positive recollections of parenting with the model of core emotional needs obtained from Study 1. Using samples with separate ratings for fathers and mothers from Manila (Philippines; n = 520, 538), Jakarta (Indonesia; n = 366, 383) and the United States (n = 204, 214), and utilizing structural equation modeling, statistically significant positive relationships were found between these higher order solutions of recollections of positive parenting patterns and the theorized four core emotional needs which were believed to be represented by these higher order adaptive schemas. This supported a core assumption of schema therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3342-3356
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Early online date27 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Confirmatory
  • Core emotional needs
  • Factor
  • Parenting
  • Positive
  • Schemas


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