in this study we have a dual purpose: (1)to identify areas for maladaptive schemas of psychological functioning that are related to major depression and panic disorder, and (2) to study the areas of maladaptive schemas, characteristic of major depression. participants were divided into three groups, 42 subjects diagnosed with major depression, 28 subjects diagnosed with panic disorder and 51 subjects without psychopathology. a group of 30 subjects with major depression was evaluated in two moments. we used the schemas questionnaire (young, 1991), the hamilton scale for depression, the beck depression inventory and the state - trait anxiety inventory. the results show that there are differences between the groups with psychopathological disorders and the group without psychopathology in regard to the areas of early maladaptive schemas. we also observed the existence of schema’s domains that would be characteristic of depressed subjects. some of these domains of maladaptive schemas are sensitive to changes in the severity of depression. we discuss the results highlighting the importance of the domains of maladaptive schemas in information processing, memory process and interpersonal relationships. we underline the role that the domains of early maladaptive schemas have on the genesis and maintenance of major depression.