Article

Seven Pillars of Defense Mechanism Theory

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Abstract

Defense mechanisms are cognitive processes that function to protect the individual from excessive anxiety or other negative emotions. They also protect the person from loss of self-esteem and, in the extreme, the loss of self-integration. Although past critics questioned the existence of defense mechanisms, recent research has supported seven basic tenets regarding defenses. These include: (1) defenses function outside of awareness; (2) there is a chronology of defense development; (3) defenses are present in the normal personality; (4) defense use increases under conditions of stress; (5) defense use reduces the conscious experience of negative emotions; (6) defense function is connected to the autonomic nervous system; (7) excessive use of defenses is associated with psychopathology. Research supporting the seven pillars of defense mechanism theory is described in this essay.

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... As these processes determine our everyday behavior in many ways, defense mechanisms play a crucial role in protecting "the individual from experiencing excessive anxiety, and to protect the self and self-esteem" (Cramer, 2008(Cramer, , p. 1963. ...
... This means that age, among other factors, is crucial in analyzing whether defense mechanisms can be considered pathological. According to Cramer, "excessive use of defenses, in which they become the characteristic, repetitive reaction to many different situations, or the use of age-inappropriate defenses, is likely to occur in conjunction with the presence of psychopathology" (Cramer, 2008(Cramer, , p. 1972). ...
... Cramer (2008) outlined a theoretical model for the development of three defense mechanisms in the early years of our lives that can help us understand the connection between animal abuse and defenses in children. During the early years of life, denial is the predominant defense, projection prevails during mid-childhood, and by late adolescence identification becomes predominant (Cramer, 2008(Cramer, , p. 1966. They are cognitively more complex, and therefore logically appear in late childhood. ...
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Taking into consideration the complexity of animal cruelty, problems with its varying definitions which depend on legal frameworks, social norms, cultural and public perceptions and many possible approaches to the issue of animal cruelty, this paper will focus only on active cruelty (acts of commission), i.e. the intention to harm an animal and cause pain and suffering. It will study the phenomenon as a multi-indicator for violence. Regardless of whether animal abuse is treated as a criminal offence or a misdemeanor or if it is absent from the legal framework altogether, it represents a complex phenomenon present in both children and adults. This abuse affects families and a wide range of social institutions, not only harming animals but also indicating various inter-personal types of violence and individual behavioral disorders. This paper explores intersectional and interdisciplinary research on animal abuse, its connection to subsequent adult or concurrent domestic violence and child abuse, contributing factors such as defense mechanisms and the roles of empathy and remorse. Understanding animal cruelty as a part of human violence and as a sign of serious concern for the welfare of both animals and humans is a first step towards building sustainable social policies.
... Defense mechanisms are an important factor in the maintenance and homeostasis of the mental and physical health. According to Cramer (2008), defense mechanisms are mental processes present in normal personalities that help individuals to adapt to environment and reality. The greater the variety of defense mechanisms a person uses in his daily life, the better adaptation they have. ...
... Defense mechanisms are unconscious in nature (except for some particularly mature ones), mental mechanisms that change the perception of reality (Cramer, 2008). They are motivated by a conflict, and they aim to reduce dissatisfaction operating in such a way as to protect the individual from stress or anxiety, either the source of anxiety is an annoying external event or it is an annoying internal psychological state (Freud, 1966). ...
... Defense mechanisms seem to be a part of a wider interconnected system that is activated when stressful events occur (Kwon and Lemon, 2000). According to Cramer (2008), defense mechanisms appear when individuals need help to cope with the internal drive pressures and external pressures that threaten the integration of the self and their self-esteem. Students in this group had the highest scores on the surface approach, possibly indicating that they struggled with their studies and ultimately succeed (Postareff et al., 2017). ...
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This study investigates the relationships among defense styles, academic procrastination, psychological well-being, and approaches to learning. The questionnaires Defense Style Questionnaire-88, Procrastination Assessment Scale Questionnaire, Flourishing Scale, and HowULearn are used to measure the aforementioned variables, respectively. Social science students (N = 628) take part in the study. A hierarchical cluster analysis is used for clustering students into homogeneous groups. Three groups of students are identified: "psychologically stable and adaptive" (n = 285), "immature and unstable at risk" (n = 134), and "defensively dissonant" (n = 209) students. A decision tree model is used with the grade point average (GPA) score as an outcome variable to further examine interactions between the three clusters and the years of study on GPA. "Psychologically stable and adaptive" students report the highest GPA. Our findings bridge mental health variables with learning shedding light on our understanding of the use of defense styles when it comes to learning.
... In more advanced theoretical discussions, defensive mechanisms and coping methods are, however, differentiated. It is mainly believed that coping is an adaptation process, which enables an individual to adapt to goals, whereas defensive mechanisms are connected with an imperative to reduce distress and distort reality (Cramer, 2009;Haan, 1965;Kramer, 2010). In other words, coping is proactive, while defensive mechanisms are triggered as a response to impulse activation, which would lead to a sense of intra-mental threat and fear. ...
... Current research on conceptualizations of defences proves, however, that a defensive mechanism does not need to become a response to an internal conflict or fear, but also frustration, stress, crisis, unpleasant affect, threatened self-esteem or lack of security (Hentshel, Draguns, Ehlers, & Smith, 2004;Kline, 2004;Draguns, 2004). Defences are aimed at self-protection, and are related to self-theories (the more rigid are the theories, the more likely they are to evoke defences, Dweck & Elliott-Moskwa, 2010), self-esteem and emotion regulation (Cramer, 2009;Kernis, Lakey, & Heppner, 2008). According to Feldman Barret et al. (2002, p. 3), defensive mechanisms may be treated as motivated cognitive-behavioural strategies, which protect the self from the expected threat, maintain or increase self-esteem, reduce negative affect and maintain positive representations of parental figures. ...
Article
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Background: One of the main components of psychological conversa- tion that influence communication is psychological defen- siveness. In the paper I propose processual – situational understanding of defensiveness, and its measurement based on coding system. Preliminary results on link be- tween personality traits and defensiveness in people’s nar- ratives are presented as well. Participants and procedure. To test proposed coding system, study was conducted with participants presenting different levels of personali- ty organization’s (borderline: n = 35, 20 women, M = 26.09, SD = 4.82, neurotic: n = 29, 24 women, M = 25.90, SD = 5.25, integrated: n = 31, 26 women, M = 21.94, SD = 1.69). Correla- tion method was applied (Borderline Personality Inventory, Neuroticism Scale, Emotion Control Inventory), as well as narrative’s interviews. Participants’ statements were cod- ed by competent judges (defensiveness and coherence of narratives), and by automatic lexical analyses (descriptive indicators). Results: Results indicate that proposed defensiveness coding sys- tem is a set of heterogeneous indicators, and four groups of indicators could be extracted. Correlations between those indicators and expression control (positive relation), and coherence of narratives (negative relation). Moreover, differences between borderline participants and neurotic ones emerged. Conclusions: Proposed coding system seems to be a heterogeneous but useful tool for assessing defensiveness during psychologi- cal interviews. It could be applied as an element of a procedural control measures, directed to test the reliability of psychological conversation. Key words: defensive mechanisms; clinical interview; content analysis; personality disorders http://www.termedia.pl/Original-article-Identifying-indicators-of-defensive-activity-in-narration-about-important-interpersonal-relations,75,23774,1,1.html
... These experiences include adverse childhood experiences (ACEs; Hughes et al., 2017;Sheffler et al., 2020) and major negative life events (NLEs; Bøe et al., 2018). Additionally, what is often labeled as personality pathology often represents defenses and psychological organization developed to survive, to protect the self from, most often, chaotic or negative early environments but that are no longer adaptive in the client's current environment (Cramer, 2006(Cramer, , 2008Granieri et al., 2017;Kernberg, 2005;McWilliams, 2011). Too often clinical psychological assessment restricts the definition of trauma to the DSM-5-defined conceptualization and limits query to PTSD symptoms, but situating current difficulties within a history of traumatic stress can be another important and destigmatizing mode of conceptualizing cases. ...
... Related to ACEs and (early) NLEs, the development of defenses and a consistent way of interacting with the world (i.e., personality) can be significantly driven by problematic early (contextual) experiences. Psychoanalytic theorists (Cramer, 2006(Cramer, , 2008Granieri et al., 2017;Kernberg, 2005;McWilliams, 2011) have highlighted how the development of defensive structures serves to protect individuals from shame, conflict, and other unacceptable feelings and thoughts. However, this conception can be broadened to account for the striking relationship between early childhood trauma, adversity, and negative events and the development of personality disorders (Luntz & Widom, 1994;Sansone et al., 2002;Trull, 2001;Weaver & Clum, 1993;Yen et al., 2002;Zhang et al., 2012). ...
Article
Clinical formulation and case conceptualization in clinical psychological assessment typically organize a client's presenting problems within a psychological framework and narrative that explains the cluster of symptoms, etiological and maintenance factors, and explaining both how and why a client is struggling or suffering. However, many of the most commonly used models of case conceptualization, as well as the preponderance of tests and measures used in psychological assessment, minimize or ignore the impacts of contextual factors, including dominant culture's expectations for normative behavior and the client's history of trauma and adverse and negative events. This paper presents a rationale and model for encouraging psychologists conducting clinical psychological assessment to be deliberate in first considering contextual factors in case conceptualization before relying entirely on primarily intrapsychic models. While contextual conceptualizations will not always replace (or join) intrapsychic models of case formulation, being deliberate and explicit about at least considering them is an important way to mitigate some of psychologists' biases and has the potential to situate a narrative of client difficulties in a way that takes at least some of the burden off the client.
... Previous research has implicated adaptivity of ego defenses as moderators of actualization potential and accuracy of self-presentations. Phoebe Cramer (2008) defines defense mechanisms as unconscious cognitive processes which protect individuals against daily personal and social stressors. All individuals use defense mechanisms, although individual use differs based on countless individual, interpersonal, and situational variables. ...
... While Horney (1950) interpreted adaptivity of functioning and personality neurosis in a more fluid light than the foundations set forth by Freudian ego theory described by Cramer (2008), her theoretical approach to personality and defense style artfully integrates Maslow's theory of self-actualization in a unique way. Horney (1945) theorized defense style categorically, similar to Andrews et al. (1993), however her categories included: moving toward people (compliance), moving against people (aggression), and moving away from people (detachment). ...
Growing research suggests that Facebook may relate to users’ self-esteem, identity perceptions, and cognitive function by facilitating identity exploration and minimizing self-deception. The present study empirically investigated this possibility. A cross-sectional correlational design with a web-based survey was utilized. Participants (N = 446) were 24.3% male (N = 118), 67.2% female (N = 326), 2% transgender/in transition (N = 2). 59.6% of participants were ages 18–32 (N = 289) while 13.6% were age 23–27 (N = 66) and 18.3% over age 28 (N = 89). High frequency Facebook use significantly positively correlated with mature defense style (p < 0.05, r = 0.13). High self-esteem significantly positively correlated with mature defense styles (p < 0.01, r = 0.24) and negatively with immature styles (p < 0.05, r = −0.13). High frequency Facebook use also significantly positively correlated with Actualization Potential (p < 0.01, r = 0.20). In summary, higher levels of Facebook use appear to correlate with positive attributes such as low self-deception, mature coping, high self-esteem, and high actualization potential. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
... Contemporary psychoanalytic authors (Kernberg, 1976(Kernberg, , 2005Kohut, 1977;Bromberg, 1998;Cooper, 1998;Cramer, 2006Cramer, , 2008McWilliams, 2011) highlight that DMs have the specific function to protect the self from anxiety, conflict, shame, loss of selfesteem, or other unacceptable feelings and negative thoughts. Cramer (2008) has conducted a review of empirical studies, which supports these fundamental psychoanalytical assumptions on DMs. ...
... Contemporary psychoanalytic authors (Kernberg, 1976(Kernberg, , 2005Kohut, 1977;Bromberg, 1998;Cooper, 1998;Cramer, 2006Cramer, , 2008McWilliams, 2011) highlight that DMs have the specific function to protect the self from anxiety, conflict, shame, loss of selfesteem, or other unacceptable feelings and negative thoughts. Cramer (2008) has conducted a review of empirical studies, which supports these fundamental psychoanalytical assumptions on DMs. Specifically, it emerges from her work that DMs have some operational characteristics. ...
Article
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Aim: Research has extensively examined the relationship between defense mechanisms (DM) and personality traits. However, no study to date has explored if specific defenses (alone or in combination) are able to predict dysfunctional variants of personality domains, as conceived in the alternative DSM-5 model for personality disorders. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between DMs and DSM-5 maladaptive personality domains among adults. Materials and Methods: Three hundred and twenty-eight adults aged between 18 and 64 years old completed measures on DMs and maladapive personality domains. Regression analyses were performed to determine which DMs predicted the maladaptive personality domains of negative affectivity, detachment, antagonism, disinhibition, and psychoticism. Results: According to psychoanalytic literature, results showed that immature defenses positively predicted maladaptive personality domain scores, whereas mature defenses were generally related with better personality functioning. Moreover, different defense patterns emerged as significant predictors of the maladaptive personality domains comprised in the alternative DSM-5 model for personality disorder. Discussion: Our findings support the view that defense patterns represent core components of personality and its disorders, and suggest that an increased use of immature defenses and a reduced use of mature defenses have a negative impact on the development of personality.
... Thus, our findings support the idea that the several defenses used by individuals during a particular achievement-related demanding situation should not be seen as independent or mutually exclusive, but rather part of a larger interconnected defense system activated by a stressful situation (Kwon and Lemon, 2000). A central tenet of defensive functioning is that individuals use different defenses based on if the stressor is internal or external (Perry et al., 2015), and that the more the person experiences stress, the more it results in an increase of defense use (Cramer, 2008). Our findings indicate that the adaptiveness of defenses is primarily based on the quantity of defenses used rather than the type of defense (adaptive or maladaptive). ...
... Our findings indicate that the adaptiveness of defenses is primarily based on the quantity of defenses used rather than the type of defense (adaptive or maladaptive). In other words, at a certain level, defenses aid to manage stress, however, when used excessively, defenses can cause maladaptation and even psychopathology (Cramer, 2008). ...
Article
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The purpose of this study was to identify the potentially distinct defense profiles of athletes in order to provide insight into the complex associations that can exist between defenses and other important variables tied to performance in sports (e.g., coping, perceived stress and control) and to further our understanding of the complexity of the adaptation process in sports. Two hundred and ninety-six (N = 296) athletes participated in a naturalistic study that involved a highly stressful situation: a sports competition. Participants were assessed before and after the competition. Hierarchical cluster analysis and a series of MANOVAs with post hoc comparisons indicated two stable defense profiles (high and low defense profiles) of athletes both before and during sport competition. These profiles differed with regards to coping, stress and control. Athletes with high defense profiles reported higher levels of coping strategies, perceived stress and control than athletes with low defense profiles. This study confirmed that defenses are involved in the psychological adaptation process and that research and intervention should not be based only on coping, but rather must include defense mechanisms in order to improve our understanding of psychological adaptation in competitive sports.
... Zeigler-Hill and Pratt, (2007) found that the use of mature defenses is associated with dominance among men but with nurturance among women. Studies have shown that men and women differ in their use of defense 19,18 mechanisms . Men use internalizing defenses and projection more than females, and women use externalizing 34,19 defenses, denial, and reaction formation more than males . ...
... Studies have shown that men and women differ in their use of defense 19,18 mechanisms . Men use internalizing defenses and projection more than females, and women use externalizing 34,19 defenses, denial, and reaction formation more than males . ...
... Individuals have preferred defenses that become integral and reflect uniquely personal coping styles (McWilliams, 2011;Shapiro, 2017). There exists a hierarchy of defenses, with some viewed as developmentally less mature than others (Cramer, 2006(Cramer, , 2008Vaillant, Bond, & Vaillaint, 1986). Vaillant's (1977Vaillant's ( , 1998Vaillant's ( , 2000 model of defense mechanisms conceptualizes, classifies, and ranks defenses within a developmental hierarchy ranging from immature to neurotic to mature defenses (Yu, 2011). ...
... It is becoming increasingly clear that defensive functioning can facilitate or impede coping, with immature defenses restricting adaptive coping and mature defenses optimizing coping (Kramer, Despland, Michel, Drapeau, & de Roten, 2010). The manner in which coping and defense mechanisms are utilized across the life span provides valuable information about how individuals respond to life stressors (Costa, Zonderman, & McCrae, 1991;Cramer, 2008;Diehl et al., 2014;Prout et al., 2015). ...
Article
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This study examined the factor structure of the Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ-40) and explored the relationships between defense mechanisms and religious coping in a diverse sample of 380 college students. In contrast with the three-factor model of defenses proposed by the developers of the DSQ-40, principal axis factoring yielded two internally consistent components: adaptive and maladaptive defense styles. Endorsement of adaptive defenses was positively correlated with the use of positive religious coping strategies and negatively correlated with negative religious coping. Maladaptive defenses were associated with the endorsement of negative religious coping strategies. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations are made for future use of the DSQ-40.
... Intrapersonal level Defence mechanisms (e.g., Cramer, 2008;Freud, 1926) Implicit; both automatic (immature defences) and controlled (mature defences) ...
... For example, children who have an affectively disturbed parent can develop insecure/avoidant or insecure/ anxious attachment styles, which involve emotional suppression and emotional hyperactivation strategies, Hoffman, 2014). As Cramer (2008) notes, some core characteristics of defence mechanisms are as follows: they are unconscious mental processes directed against both internal drive pressures and external pressures; they develop according to a predictable sequence during maturation; they are part of normal personality functioning; they can lead to psychopathology when used too rigidly. Each of these characteristics is consistent with implicit ER. ...
Article
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Objective: Psychotherapy fragmentation constitutes a significant barrier to progress. In the present article, we argue that emotion regulation processes operate across psychotherapy approaches, serving as an overarching meta-factor of therapeutic change. Method: Two major therapeutic approaches-psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioural-were examined through the lens of emotion regulation theory. In particular, key constructs within each approach were analyzed in terms of relevant emotion regulation processes. Results: Emotion regulation processes are an overarching meta-factor relevant to a wide range of therapeutic constructs (e.g., defence mechanisms, internal working models, coping strategies, ruptures/reparations of alliance). Different clinical traditions emphasize different aspects of emotion regulation, mainly in terms of implicit vs explicit emotion regulation processes. Conclusions: An integrative emotion regulation perspective contributes to our understanding of the core change mechanisms of psychotherapy, with significant implications both for research and clinical practice.
... Although defense mechanisms generally become more salient when they are maladaptive, all human individuals use defense mechanisms in their daily lives (Cramer, 2008). Individuals tend to have certain default defense patterns that they use to manage distressing emotions and thoughts, but the use of specific defense mechanisms also depends on the circumstances, especially on the nature and level of distress (e.g., Perry et al., 2015;Békés et al., 2017). ...
Article
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This is the first study to examine psychotherapists' levels of defense mechanisms, their concurrent relationship with professional work-related stress (professional self-doubt and vicarious trauma), and how their levels of defense mechanisms predict the changes in these professional stresses over the course of 3 months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data from two online studies (Study 1; N = 105 and Study 2; N = 336), using two self-report measures of therapists' defense mechanisms (Defense Style Questionnaire-40 in Study 1 and Defense Mechanism Rating Scales Self-Report-30 in Study 2), are presented. Therapists reported higher levels of mature defense mechanisms, and lower levels of immature defense mechanisms, compared to published community and clinical populations assessed before and during the pandemic. Therapists' lower level of mature defense mechanisms and higher levels of neurotic and immature defense mechanisms were related to higher concurrent levels of vicarious trauma and professional doubt. Therapists who reported higher levels of mature defense mechanisms at 3-month follow-up showed less vicarious trauma and professional self-doubt at follow-up, after controlling for these professional stressors at baseline. Implications for clinical supervision and training are discussed. The context and professional challenges during the pandemic are unique and future replications of the results outside the pandemic context are warranted.
... This is supported by high and mid-range scores on preferring courses transmitting information and supporting understanding (respectively), indicating less meaningmaking. Cramer (2008) argues that the use of defences increases during stress, which has been related to a surface approach ( € Ohrstedt & Lindfors, 2018). Moreover, 'mature and learning advanced' students in Cluster 3 reported high scores on the deep and strategic approaches and preferring courses supporting understanding, which came along with high GPAs and mature defence style scores. ...
Article
The study aims at investigating students' learning/defence profiles. It also explores students' profiles during different years of study. Participants comprised of 425 undergraduates. They completed the 'Approaches to Study and Skills Inventory' and the 'Defense Style Questionnaire'. The students' academic achievement was measured through grade point average. Cluster analysis revealed three profiles: 'restricted maturity and dissonant-unorgan-ized' students, 'defensive and reproduction oriented' students, and 'mature and learning advanced' students. The profiles correspond to adaptive and maladaptive learning patterns. The study also revealed few (a) differences across the years of study (on strategic approach) and (b) interactions between the three clusters and the years of study (on mature defence style and GPA). The findings are discussed in relation to recent literature. Limitations and future research suggestions are presented. ARTICLE HISTORY
... Defense Mechanisms protect identities from stressors (Cramer, 2008). ...
Conference Paper
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A growing pool of research suggests that Facebook use may impact users’ self-esteem, identity development, and cognitive function by facilitating identity exploration and minimizing self-deception. Defense mechanism theory defines defenses as coping methods which defend the identity against stressors. Abraham Maslow’s theory of human motivation (1943) correlates low levels of self-deception with higher potential for attaining actualization. While existing research theoretically links Facebook use to levels of self-deception, defensive styles, and actualization potential, the present study empirically evaluated these proposed relationships.
... The scores were averaging 43 with a deviation of 8, which means that some operators have a very strong ego (11 of them have a score higher than 50, 3 having a score higher than 55). This is not a problem in itself, maybe operators need a string ego to perform, but a strong ego mobilizes string ego-defense mechanism in which you can find denial, rationalization… (Cramer 2009) ...
Article
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Operators (fund managers and traders) are regularly involved in fraudulent operations. Their cost amounted to over $40 billion in the last decade. We think that one of the main reasons is related to the nature of interrelations between risk-controllers and operators. Controllers are often too poorly skilled and operators consider themselves as superior human beings and are therefore reluctant to explain themselves. Existing structures encourage this. That is why we propose an approach based on the concept of enactment, which will entail a morphogenesis of structures. This will help operators realize that they are just ordinary people, which will then help them suffer less from their working life. As a result, they will develop careful interrelations, resulting in a lesser risk of fraud. We also provide a tool to measure the quality of these enactments and to perform them: the appropriation scales. Realizing that they are not asked to do extraordinary things, operators will less suffer psychologically and be less tempted to fraud to escape this pain.
... between these two are inadequately understood, emotion regulation is conceptualized to focus on managing discrete emotional states (Gross, 1998;Gross & Thompson, 2007), and defense mechanisms on managing motivational impulses and needs (Hart, 2014;Vaillant, 1995). Furthermore, whereas emotion regulation has been suggested to operate both consciously and unconsciously (Gross & Thompson, 2007;Mauss, Bunge, & Gross, 2007), defense mechanisms are thought to operate unconsciously (Cramer, 2008;Gross & Thompson, 2007;Vaillant, 1995). ...
Article
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Early family relationships have been suggested to influence the development of childrentextquoterights affect regulation, involving both emotion regulation and defense mechanisms. However, we lack research on the specific family predictors for these two forms of affect regulation, which have been conceptualized to differ in their functions and accessibility to consciousness. Accordingly, we examine how the (a) quality and (b) timing of family relationships during infancy predict childtextquoterights later emotion regulation and defense mechanisms. Parents (N = 703) reported autonomy and intimacy in marital and parenting relationships at the childtextquoterights ages of 2 and 12 months, and the childtextquoterights use of emotion regulation and immature and neurotic defenses at 7 to 8 years. As hypothesized, the results showed that functional early family relationships predicted childrentextquoterights efficient emotion regulation, whereas dysfunctional relationships predicted reliance on defense mechanisms in middle childhood. Further, results showed a timing effect for neurotic defenses, partially confirming our hypothesis of early infancy being an especially important period for the development of defense mechanisms. The findings are discussed from the viewpoints of attachment and family dynamics, emotional self-awareness, and sense of security.
... Gender differences have been found in the use of defenses. It was found that men use internalizing defenses and projection more than females, and women use externalizing defenses, denial, and reaction formation more than males (Cramer, 2005, 2009) 34,19 . In addition, the current study showed that, the mean score of neurotic mechanisms was higher in females than males. ...
... The literature has reported that defenses can be associated with various symptoms of mental distress and the process of psychotherapy (for a review, seeBond, 2004). Further studies have also explored the role of defenses in psychological adjustment and physical health, demonstrating that this concept is not limited to pathology, but rather a part of normal and everyday functioning as well (e.g.,Bond, 2004;Cramer, 2008Cramer, , 2014). Defense mechanisms have since been associated to other constructs, such as adaptation and coping (Bonsack, Despland, & Spagnoli, 1998;Cramer, 2000;Bouchard & Thériault, 2003;Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). ...
Article
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The purpose of the present study was to develop and evaluate a measure of defense mechanisms: the short Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ-26). A total of 296 competitive athletes completed the DSQ-26 and other self-report questionnaires both before and after a sport competition. Results of Principal Component Analyses (PCA) on the pre-competitive data showed evidence for a 2-factor model that included adaptive (e.g., humor, anticipation, self-assertion, altruism, self-observation) and maladaptive defenses (e.g., help rejecting complaining, splitting other, projection, dissociation, intellectualization, devaluation/self, fantasy, devaluation of other). Confirmatory factor analyses conducted on both the pre- and intra-competitive data showed an acceptable fit of the data for the 2-factor, 13-defense model of DSQ-26, supporting the factorial structure identified within the PCAs. Correlations between DSQ-26 subscales, coping, affective states, perceived stress and control scores provided evidence for criterion-related validity of the DSQ-26 scores. Overall, this study provides support for the reliability and validity of the short DSQ-26 scores with recommendations for the use and development of this measure of defense mechanisms in stressful situations.
... They also protect the person from loss of selfesteem and, in the extreme, the loss of self-integration. Recent research by (Cramer, 2008) has supported seven basic tenets regarding defenses. These include: ...
... The current research interest in defense mechanisms, an old psychoanalytic concept, draws on recent theoretical work on defenses as an implicit emotion-regulation construct (Rice and Hoffman, 2014;Sala et al., 2015), that involves automatic psychological processes of which individuals are unaware as they operate (Rice and Hoffman, 2014). In this line of thinking, defense mechanisms, as mental processes present in normal personality (Cramer, 2008(Cramer, , 2015a, are postulated to provide a rapid response and an automatic reaction, unintentional coping, to protect students from psychological stress, excessive anxiety or other negative emotions, resulting from learning situations. ...
Article
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The present study explores associations between defense styles, approaches to learning, students’ preferences for different types of courses/teaching and achievement. The psychometric properties of the Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ-40), used for assessing students’ defense styles, are also explored. Participants in this study were undergraduates (N=425) studying in a social science department.The Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) is used for exploring students’ approaches to learning, while Grade Point Average (GPA) measured students’ academic achievement. The study suggests the contribution of defense styles to the Student Learning Research; it reports a mature and an immature learning pattern. Deep and strategic approaches to learning, preferences for classes that support understanding and GPA are associated with a mature defense style, whereas surface approach and preferences for classes that transmit information are associated with immature, image-distorting and neurotic defense styles. Defense styles as well as preferences for different courses appear to act as antecedents of approaches to learning; approaches mediate the effect of defenses and preferences on achievement although defenses have only a small impact. The study also suggests a four factor structure of the DSQ-40 in undergraduates. The findings are discussed in the context of the recent literature.
... Applying primarily immature defenses may limit the ability to gain insight and understand how others are affected by one's own actions and attitudes, therefore distorting the perception of interpersonal problems (enabling one to be oblivious to such problems). Another possible explanation is based on the nature of immature defenses (Cramer, 2008(Cramer, , 2015; many of them (e.g., splitting, projective identification) hinder the ability to incorporate seemingly contradictory qualities into one stable image. The perception of interpersonal problems by an individual using immature defenses will more frequently be either exaggerated or depreciated, and the direction and strength of the distortion--dependent on many variables--may be difficult to predict. ...
... Ego defenses are a set of unconscious cognitive processes that help an individual ward off unwarranted anxiety [1]. These defenses tend to protect an individual's biopsychic integrity, and depending on their level of maturity; contribute significantly to personal growth and development [2]. ...
Article
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Objective: The clusters of participants with a homogeneous psychological make-up can be identified using sophis- ticated machine learning techniques such as the two-step clustering algorithm. It can also help us to identify the synergistic and additive effects of a range of psychometric variables. The identification of synergistic effect of this clus- tering of defense mechanism has significant practical implications as they share a certain variance. This study aims to identify the clusters of ego defenses and their relationship with academic performance and mental health outcome in medical students. Results: The high achievers scored higher on mature and neurotic defense styles and lower on immature than their counter parts. A higher proportion of medical students in high achievers group had normal scores on depressive symptoms than low achievers. While a majority among low achievers suffered from severe anxiety levels than high achievers group. High achievers scored higher on sublimation, humor, anticipation, suppression, pseudo-altruism, idealization, reaction formation, autistic fantasy, denial, and rationalization.
... autorki). Podsumowując, "mechanizmy obronne mogą różnić się sposobem działania, ale wszystkie służą jednemu celowi -a mianowicie ochronie jednostki przed doświadczaniem nadmiernego lęku i ochronie self i samooceny" (Cramer, 2008a;s. 1963;tłum. ...
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Mechanizmy obronne to nieświadome, automatyczne procesy, które przez zniekształcenie odbioru rzeczywistości pomagają nam poradzić sobie z napięciami i stresem wynikającymi z nagłych zmian w zewnętrznym środowisku lub w naszym świecie wewnętrznym. Pojęcie mechanizmu obronnego jest w psychologii obecne od dawna i nadal jest żywo obecne w rozważaniach teoretycznych, w praktyce klinicznej i w badaniach naukowych. Szczególną rolę odgrywa w teoriach i szkołach psychoterapeutycznych mających swoje korzenie w psychoanalizie, ale nie tylko. W niniejszej pracy chciałabym skupić się na współczesnych rozważaniach dotyczących mechanizmów obronnych, sposobu ich działania i możliwości uchwycenia w kontekście badawczym. W kolejnych rozdziałach postaram się szerzej przybliżyć polskiemu czytelnikowi funkcjonujące w bieżących badaniach teorie mechanizmów obronnych –Vaillanta i Cramer. Przestawię również stosowane obecnie w badaniach naukowych narzędzia pomiaru mechanizmów obronnych oparte na tych teoriach wraz z przeglądem badań, w których zostały wykorzystane. Czytelnik będzie mógł bliżej zapoznać się z Defense Style Questionnaire, Defense Mechanism Manual oraz Defense Mechanism Rating Scale wraz z informacjami dotyczącymi sposobu, w jaki zostały w nich zoperacjonalizowane mechanizmy obronne i z obszarami ich zastosowań. W pracy przedstawię także obszerny przegląd badań dotyczących roli mechanizmów obronnych w zachowaniu dobrostanu, zdrowia psychicznego i satysfakcjonujących relacji społecznych oraz ich związku z psychopatologią, i zmian pod wpływem procesu psychoterapii. Ponadto zaprezentuję dwie teorie mechanizmów obronnych, dla których podstawą nie są obserwacje w obszarze zdrowia psychicznego i psychopatologii, ale wiedza dotycząca funkcjonowania naszego umysłu, a w szczególności procesów kontrolnych. Będzie to zunifikowana teoria wyparcia Erdelyi’ego oraz koncepcja działania pamięci zaproponowana przez Andersona wraz z wynikami przeprowadzonych przez niego eksperymentów. Na koniec zaprezentuję autorską procedurę eksperymentalną, której założeniem było uchwycenie działania mechanizmów obronnych w kontrolowanych warunkach laboratoryjnych poprzez obserwację zaangażowania procesów hamowania poznawczego w przetwarzanie bodźców zagrażających. (ze Wstępu)
... Cramer's systematic assessment of defense mechanisms, primarily through the use of projective assessments, showed that children rely on immature and cognitively simple defenses (e.g., denial) during early childhood, and progress toward more complex defense mechanisms (e.g., projection and identification) as their cognitive abilities and self-awareness develop in late childhood and adolescence (Cramer, 2015). Several studies confirmed these findings, demonstrating that defenses follow a clear developmental trajectory based on chronological age (Cramer, 2008;Di Giuseppe et al., 2020b) and gender Tallandini & Caudek, 2009). ...
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Defense mechanisms are unconscious and automatic psychological processes that serve to protect the individual from painful emotions and thoughts. There is ample evidence from the adult psychotherapy and mental health literature suggesting the salience of defenses in the maintenance and amelioration of psychological distress. Although several tools for the assessment of children’s defenses exist, most rely on projective and self-report tools, and none are based on the empirically derived hierarchy of defenses. This paper outlines the development of the defense mechanisms rating scale Q-sort for children (DMRS-Q-C), a 60-item, observer-rated tool for coding the use of defenses in child psychotherapy sessions. Modifications to the Defense Mechanisms Rating Scale Q-Sort for adults to create a developmentally relevant measure and the process by which expert child psychotherapists collaborated to develop the DMRS-Q-C are discussed. A clinical vignette describing the child’s defensive functioning as assessed by the innovative DMRS-Q-C method is also reported. Finally, we provide an overview of forthcoming research evaluating the validity of the DMRS-Q-C.
... Defence mechanisms, such as rationalisation, are seen as protecting the self from anxiety, conflict, shame, loss of self-esteem, or other unacceptable feelings and negative thoughts (Granieri et al, 2017). The use of defences tends to increase under conditions of stress (Cramer, 2008). Faced with the dissonance described above, these are some of the rationalising games that clinicians play in order to manage their emotions: ...
Article
Psychological therapists try to make sense of the dissonance generated by the under-resourcing of the NHS using rationalisation which individualises a systemic problem.
... Gesundheitsappelle können zudem als Bedrohung wahrgenommen werden, da sie durch die Konfrontation mit der eigenen Verletzlichkeit negative Gefühle hervorrufen können [15]. Subjektiv bedrohlich empfundene Botschaften können wiederum Abwehrreaktionen in Form von Verdrängung und Verharmlosung risikobehafteten Verhaltens hervorrufen [16]. Dies kann durch die Theorie der kognitiven Dissonanz erklärt werden, der zufolge Menschen ein Gleichgewicht in ihren Wahrnehmungen anstreben ("Konsonanz") und Zustände vermeiden, die diesen entgegenstehen ("Dissonanz"; [17,18]). ...
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Zusammenfassung Hintergrund Um die Ausbreitung von SARS-CoV‑2 (schweres akutes Atemwegssyndrom-Coronavirus-Typ 2) zu verlangsamen, haben Bund und Bundesländer Schutzmaßnahmen ergriffen, die weitreichende Folgen für die Bevölkerung haben. Diese Maßnahmen umfassen u. a. die zeitweise Einschränkung des Betriebs von Freizeiteinrichtungen sowie Kontakt- und Reiseeinschränkungen. Die Maßnahmen rufen gemischte Reaktionen hervor, wobei Teile der Bevölkerung Empfehlungen und Vorgaben ignorieren. Ziel der Arbeit Ziel der vorliegenden Studie ist es, auf Basis der Beiträge in sozialen Medien die Gründe für die Ablehnung von Schutzmaßnahmen zu untersuchen. Material und Methoden 3 soziale Netzwerke (Facebook, Twitter und Youtube-Kommentare) wurden für den Zeitraum 02.03. bis 18.04.2020 systematisch hinsichtlich der Einstellungen zu Kontaktbeschränkungen und anderen Schutzmaßnahmen mittels qualitativer Dokumenten- und Inhaltsanalyse untersucht. Insgesamt wurden 119 Beiträge in die Analyse aufgenommen und interpretiert. Ergebnisse 6 Hauptkategorien und 4 Unterkategorien wurden im Zusammenhang mit der Ablehnung der Schutzmaßnahmen identifiziert: Fehlinformationen der sozialen Medien (Verharmlosung und Zweifel an der Wirksamkeit), Misstrauen gegenüber den etablierten öffentlichen Medien, Wissensdefizite und Verunsicherung, Einschränkung der Grundrechte, die Rolle der Behörden (Bevölkerungskontrolle und mangelndes Vertrauen in das Robert Koch-Institut) sowie wirtschaftliche Auswirkungen der Pandemie. Diskussion Fehlinformationen in sozialen Medien und Wissensdefizite können zu einer Unterschätzung der Pandemie beitragen. Zudem können wirtschaftliche Belastungen mit der Ablehnung von Schutzvorkehrungen einhergehen. Zur Erhöhung der Akzeptanz implementierter Schutzmaßnahmen stellen Gesundheitsaufklärung sowie transparente und evidenzbasierte Kommunikation relevante Determinanten dar.
... Currently, AF describes a primitive defense mechanism, in which a person deals with emotional conflict and stressors by indulging in excessive daydreaming as a substitute for active problem solving [38]. Defense mechanisms are normal and unconscious (that is, automatic and reflexive) psychological mechanisms that help ward off unpleasant feelings of anxiety arising from unacceptable or potentially harmful stimuli [24] There is agreement that defense mechanisms are ordered on a continuum [86], so that the use of mature defenses (such as humor and sublimation) is healthy and imply a good ability to adapt to reality, while the pervasive use of immature (such as rationalization and undoing) or even primitive defenses (such as projection and acting out) imply a severe alteration of painful mental contents and/or radical distortion of external reality [38]. While psychiatric nosology has historically considered AF as a feature of narcissistic personality associated with a preoccupation with fantasies of "unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love." ...
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Maladaptive daydreaming (MD) is an excessive and vivid fantasy activity that interferes with individual's normal functioning and can result in severe distress. Research has shown that MD is a clinical condition associated with a number of personal, interpersonal and behavioral problems. Therefore, a need exists to differentiate MD from other mental activities that involve an excessive or otherwise problematic use of fantasy. These include, among others, daydreaming, mind wandering, dissociative absorption, fantasy proneness, sluggish cognitive tempo, lucid dreaming, and autistic fantasy. In this article, we examine the commonalities and differences between MD and these mental activities, to promote a better understanding of the MD phenomena and their specificity, and to foster the quality of its assessment in clinical settings. A clinical case study is employed to elucidate our analysis and to demonstrate the differential diagnosis of MD.
... 10 Πολύ σχηματικά, η διάκριση εμπίπτει στη δεύτερη τοπική ή τοπογραφική υπόθεση του ακραιφνούς ψυχαναλυτικού μοντέλου για το ψυχικό όργανο, σύμφωνα με την οποία εντοπίζονται στο τελευταίο τρεις (3) (Cramer, 2008). Διακρίνονται δε σε πρωτογενείς (ή πρωίμους) και δευτερογενείς (McWilliams, 1994). ...
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The study of the clinical psychological profile of the cancer patients has received increasing attention and interest in the scientific community, however, more often under the light of quantitative rather than qualitative research studies, while vast opportunities for using qualitative methods exist within cancer patients research as far as the palliative care concept is concerned. Generally, it could be stated that qualitative methods, although presented in a few studies, can be served as a versatile set of tools and a necessary complement to quantitative analysis in the field of palliative care, especially for the patients of this diagnostic category. This study shows, inter alia, how qualitative research is uniquely positioned to contribute to ongoing clinical trial development and analysis and provides a demystifying introduction to qualitative methods for interested palliative care clinicians, clinical psychologists, and investigators. The purpose of the present study is to highlight the psychological profile of the group of the cancer patients throughout certain qualitative “filters”, that is to say applying a semi-structured clinical interview, designed especially for the needs of the present study, as well as throughout the use of a theoretical conceptual framework based on the axioms of analysis of the Grounded Theory. Semistructured clinical interview aimed not only to describe phenomena, rather than report statistics, but also to understand the views and feelings of patients in palliative care settings (early palliative care) towards the “bad news” and explore their opinions regarding the timing of its discussion as well, and, consequently, each analyzed item provides a wealth of data, for example the emotional labor, the prolonged agony, the desires of the patient, and, finally, the silent acting-out. Additionally, throughout the subjects’ narrative interventions, for the first time in this research field (palliative care), three (3) “cognitive entrapments”, linked to the onset of the disease, were found and emerged, simultaneously. The final completion of the outline of the participants' psychological profile it has been made possible by using the Thematic Apperception Test (Τ.Α.Τ), as it was not only more appropriate than the first psychological tool so as to bring out more internal, more insidious, more obscure and more entrenched emotional and mental processes, but also more suitable for the assessment of the diversity of the defense functions and their levels as well. The findings of both psychological tools were analyzed on the basis of the methodological principles and axioms of the Grounded Theory and on purely psychodynamic terminology. Finally, a reference is made to the use of these findings of the study, both on the clinical practice with oncological patients and on the education of the health professionals. Last but not least, reference is made to the research constraints that are fatally "accompanying" each study.
... Based on its findings, it provides important outputs for both academicians and practitioners. K 2. Literature review and hypotheses 2.1 Defence mechanism Defence mechanisms are the mechanisms developed by the individual to protect himself/ herself mentally against the events that cause anxiety and worry (Freud, 1962;Cramer, 1998Cramer, , 2008Ribadier et al., 2016). Humankind has to show both biological and psychological development and adaptation to survive. ...
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between defence mechanisms, one of the unconscious processes, and phantasy. In addition, the scale of financial defence mechanisms, which is a version of the defence mechanisms adapted to financial issues, has been developed and tested. Design/methodology/approach For this purpose, first, a pilot study was conducted for the financial defence mechanism scale. The data was collected 179 subjects in Turkey through online surveys with convenience sampling method between the dates of 6 March and 21 March 2020, and then additional data was collected in Turkey between the dates of 28 April and 14 June 2020. The total number of subjects is 644. The authors exploited IBM SPSS Statistics and AMOS for analysis. Exploratory factor analysis, ANOVA, Independent t -test and Correlation analysis were performed. In addition, confirmatory factor analysis was performed after additional data collection process with structural equation modelling. Findings As a result of the analyses, only two of the defence mechanisms (mature and neurotic) and three of the financial defence mechanisms (mature, neurotic and immature) were found to be positively correlated with phantasy, which is considered a determinant of financial bubbles. In addition, a positive relationship was found between risky investment intention and two of the defence mechanisms (immature and neurotic) and three of the financial defence mechanisms (mature, immature and neurotic). Originality/value The study is unique due to its findings and developed scale. The findings are valuable in that the theoretically alleged relations were also obtained empirically.
Chapter
Change of the consumption patterns has been a critical target for national and international policies for sustainable development. More responsible consumption practices are presumed to eliminate or at least alleviate human-induced environmental problems. However, motivating the responsible consumption is not easily given the structural and psychological barriers for those behaviors. Although promoting factors have received considerable attention from researchers, studies on the barriers, especially on psychological ones, are still very limited. This chapter aims to improve the knowledge about the five psychological mechanisms which help the consumer to avoid engaging in pro-environmental actions when the overall costs of those actions are perceived to be high. Value-Belief-Norm framework was employed to explain the indirect roles of these mechanisms. To this point of view, consumers may employ denial of the problem, denial of risk, denial of responsibility, helplessness or rationalization mechanisms iteratively on the way to responsible consumption. Review and the discussion in this chapter may contribute to the literature by addressing where attitude-behavior or value-behavior chain is broken in a pro-environmental context. Chapter also highlights the advantages of social marketing perspective and especially segmentation tool for policymakers.
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This chapter describes the Egocentric Tactician Model. The model purports to account for the influence of the self on social thought. Such thought refers to the social world and those who inhabit it (i.e., characterizing or construing another's actions, predicting others’ preferences or behaviors, evaluating what is normative or right). The model posits that the influence of the self on social thought is contingent on both the content of the self-concept and the motives that work to maintain or increase the positivity of the self-concept. Two primary motives are self-enhancement and self-protection. The model further asserts that during social thought these motives affect, and are affected by, various cognitive processes and structures. Different chapter sections demonstrate that the Egocentric Tactician Model is empirically grounded, has a broad explanatory scope, is generative, and differs from other models in describing how the self affects social thought.
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How do people flexibly regulate their emotions in order to manage the diverse demands of varying situations? This question assumes particular importance given the central role that emotion regulation (ER) deficits play in many forms of psychopathology. In this review, we propose a translational framework for the study of ER flexibility that is relevant to normative and clinical populations. We also offer a set of computational tools that are useful for work on ER flexibility. We specify how such tools can be used in a variety of settings, such as basic research, experimental psychopathology, and clinical practice. Our goal is to encourage the theoretical and methodological precision that is needed in order to facilitate progress in this important area.
Article
This study examined the relations between emotion regulation and defense mechanisms as assessed through self-report questionnaires. Participants were 314 undergraduate students at the University of Turin (Faculty of Agricultural Studies, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences and Faculty of Psychology). Correlational analysis identified several associations between emotion regulation strategies and defense mechanisms. A second-order factor model was tested in which each of the dimensions assessed by the defense mechanisms and emotion regulation instruments was assigned to either an adaptive or maladaptive latent dimension. The results suggested that the dimensions of adaptiveness and maladaptiveness may represent a key link between emotion regulation and defense mechanisms.
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Emotional intelligence as the ability to perceive, access and generate emotions, and also to assist our thoughts, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth. By improving our EI, we will know ourself better and then we will understand about the other more. Beside it, we can improve our behave in certain situation. By understanding our capability in improving EI, we can try our best in reducing negative defence mechanism which can give bad impact to ourself and condition around us. When we understanding our emotions, we will act and reaction base on our knowledge and reflect the outcome will influence how to behave and that include defence mechanism. The intelligence one of amplifies emotions by providing more extensive and intensive unconscious and conscious activating appraisal. physiological signs of some emotion. This research proposed to determine the assess that combine Golemans and Bar-On Theories to Create modeling instrument emotional intelligence and observe the relationship between Emotional intelligence and psychological defense mechanisms. So by using this literature review, we can find how important the EQ is and how it can gives good impact to ourself and others.
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One of the fastest growing areas within psychology is the field of emotion regulation. However, enthusiasm for this topic continues to outstrip conceptual clarity, and there remains considerable uncertainty as to what is even meant by “emotion regulation.” The goal of this review is to examine the current status and future prospects of this rapidly growing field. In the first section, I define emotion and emotion regulation and distinguish both from related constructs. In the second section, I use the process model of emotion regulation to selectively review evidence that different regulation strategies have different consequences. In the third section, I introduce the extended process model of emotion regulation; this model considers emotion regulation to be one type of valuation, and distinguishes three emotion regulation stages (identification, selection, implementation). In the final section, I consider five key growth points for the field of emotion regulation.
Chapter
We open this chapter by defining emotion and describing how emotions are generated in a series of temporal stages. We then define emotion regulation, consider precursors to the contemporary study of emotion regulation, and review the process model of emotion regulation, which holds that different emotion regulation strategies can be differentiated according to where they intervene in the emotion generation process. According to this model, emotion regulation strategies that intervene early on are likely to be more effective than strategies that intervene later on, after emotional response tendencies are activated. A growing corpus of evidence supports this account. Drawing on new data and theory, we elaborate on the process model with the aim of further specifying the effectiveness of different regulation strategies. On this expanded account, the success of any particular emotion regulation attempt is thought to be a joint function of the underlying operation of different regulation strategies, levels of emotional intensity, and regulation goals. We conclude by discussing implications and future research directions.Keywords:emotion;emotion regulation;self-regulation
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Existing rResearch exploring potential antecedents of aggression provides contradictory results, some data relating adaptive coping styles with high aggression and others relating maladaptive styles to aggressionfinding the inverse. Improved understanding of the complexities of relationships between coping and aggressionClarification of these relationships may facilitate the development of strategies for bothimprove intervention and prevention strategies. Theo build upon previous literature and address this inconsistency, the present study investigated relationships between two sub-dimensions of aggression (Cognitive—anger and hostility, and Overt—physical and verbal aggression); and three levels of coping styles (adaptive, neurotic, and maladaptive) via . Aa cross-sectional correlational methodology (N = 355).with a web-based questionnaire and a sample of 355 participants was utilized Two primary hypotheses were investigated and supported by the dataData supported both hypotheses: First, that the use of less adaptive coping styles would correlate with and predicted higher levels of aggression; Second, that this relationship would holdheld true for both cognitive (anger and hostility) and overt (physical and verbal) expressions of aggression. Correlational and regression analyses were conducted to investigate relationships between coping (and three sub-scales) and aggression (cognitive and overt sub-scales). Results suggest indicate that maladaptive coping significantly predicts aggression. Implications include potential prediction and prevention strategies which may target individuals utilizing particular styles of coping in order to reduce their probability of to reduce the probability of higher risk individuals exhibiting aggression. (whether cognitive or overt).
Article
In the present study, we examined the contribution of personal resources, self-differentiation and mature emotional defense mechanisms to binge eating among women suffering from psychological abuse in their intimate relations. Three hundred and eighty Israeli women, 32% of whom were exposed to psychological abuse filled out quantitative questionnaires. Our results indicated that the higher the level of self-differentiation and the more mature the defense mechanisms, the less addictive is the woman. The defense mechanisms and their maturity classification moderating the correlation between the stress of psychological abuse and addictive binge eating. We discuss the contribution to the literature on psychological defense mechanisms.
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Objective: Identifying adaptive ways to cope with extreme stress is essential to promoting long-term health. Memory systems are highly sensitive to stress, and combat exposure during war has been shown to have deleterious effects on cognitive processes, such as memory, decades later. No studies have examined coping styles used by combat veterans and associations with later-life cognitive functioning. Defenses are coping mechanisms that manage difficult memories and feelings, with some more closely related to memory processes (e.g., suppression, repression). Utilizing a longitudinal database, we assessed how reliance on certain defense mechanisms after World War II combat exposure could affect cognitive health 60years later. Method: Data spanning 75years were available on 71 men who had post-war assessment of combat exposure, defense mechanism ratings (ages 19-50), and late-life neuropsychological testing. Interaction models of combat exposure with defenses predicting late-life memory were examined. Results: In bivariate analyses, greater reliance on suppression correlated with worse memory performance (r=-0.30, p=.01), but greater reliance on repression did not. Greater reliance on suppression strengthened the link between combat exposure and worse memory in late life (R(2)=0.24, p<.001). In contrast, greater reliance on repression attenuated the link between combat exposure and poorer late-life memory (R(2)=0.19, p<.001). Conclusions: Results suggest that coping styles may affect the relationship between early-adult stress and late-life cognition. Findings highlight the importance of understanding how coping styles may impact cognitive functioning as people move through adult life.
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The 19th congress of the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society took place in Mexico City at the Universidad Intercontinental from August 31 to September 2. The topic was “Repression and Defense.” Delegates from five continents attended. This report summarizes the keynote presentations and plenary symposium. The talks focused mainly on inhibition, suppression, and repression. Experimental, clinical, and theoretical papers were presented and discussed.
Conference Paper
Background Previous researches have explained pathways leading to victimization and bullying. However, the origin of the process and link between the factors leading to bullying behaviour and victimization is less known knowledge. Objective The current study aimed to understand the personal experiences of bullies and victims using qualitative approach. The study focused on the experiences in different dimensions of Family dynamics; Defence mechanism; Coping; Perception of school; Life events; and Role of peers, teachers, and parents. Method The study undertaken utilizes a qualitative research design. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from 10 bullies and 6 victims from different CBSE schools of Kerala. Purposive sampling technique was used to collect data. The data from the interviews were analyzed using qualitative methods of content analysis and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results The bullies displaced the anger while the victims tried to repress the emotions turning the anger inward. The bullies and victims experienced insecure attachment styles. However, bullies got disengaged from their families and victims got enmeshed with their parents. Bullies tend to describe bullying as “fun” and victims on the other hand restrict themselves from expressing their feelings of hurt and laugh when targeted. The contradictory meanings created by bullies and victims influenced their perception of school and their worldview. This also makes one group become responsible while make another group feel helpless. Conclusions The social implications and scope of further research suggestions will be discussed.
Chapter
People use media to actively disengage themselves from troubling thoughts and unpleasant mood states caused by challenging life situations. Escapism is one of the most frequently reported motives for engaging in media use. It is a complex phenomenon that involves specific motivations, cognitions, emotional states, media choices, media use periods, and short-term as well as long-term consequences. Threatening psychological states such as exhaustion, depression, anxiety, or poor self-esteem can motivate escapism, which in turn can yield adaptive (e.g., relaxation, mood repair) and maladaptive (e.g., withdrawal, excessive media use) effects simultaneously. Watching television, surfing the Internet, and playing video games are the most frequently studied escapist media activities and are regarded as particularly effective at satisfying individuals' needs to temporarily escape into the absorbing and entertaining mass media worlds.
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Zusammenfassung Gesundheitsbezogene Informationen können eine Reihe negativer Effekte und Abwehrreaktionen auslösen, die bislang kaum thematisiert oder bei der Informationsgestaltung berücksichtigt werden. Der Beitrag gibt Hinweise auf einige zentrale Barrieren für die erfolgreiche Erhöhung der Gesundheitskompetenz und plädiert für eine intensivierte Diskussion über kommunikationsleitende Menschenbilder sowie unbewusste Prozesse der Informationszuwendung und -verarbeitung.
Thesis
[ For full text, see: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-03-0457-7 ] Developmental theories derived from psychodynamic and evolutionary frameworks suggest that early family relationships shape children’s emotional development. However, the long-term effects of early family relationships on children’s affect regulation – involving conscious and unconscious regulation and social-emotional information processing – have rarely been studied. Better understanding of such effects is crucial, because family-related alterations in children’s affect regulation may have long-term impact on children’s mental health. This dissertation study explored and modeled how family relationships during pregnancy and infancy predict children’s emotion regulation, defense mechanisms and emotional attention biases in middle childhood. It also tested whether the timing (early vs late infancy) of family relationship quality has specific effects on children’s affect regulation, and whether children’s emotion regulation mediate the effects of early family systems on children’s internalizing symptoms. The longitudinal sample comprised 710 families. Both mothers and fathers reported their autonomy and intimacy in marital and parenting relationships, during the second trimester of pregnancy, and at the child’s age of 2 months and 12 months. At the child’s age of 7-8 years the parents completed questionnaires about their child’s emotion regulation, defense mechanisms, and internalizing symptoms. At the age of 10 years, a selected subsample of 79 children participated in an experimental laboratory part of the study, which assessed their emotional attention biases using a facial dot-probe task. The effects of the family relationships on children were analyzed using both variable-oriented and person-oriented methods. The results of Study I showed that low autonomy and intimacy in both the marital and parenting relationships predicted children’s inefficient emotion regulation and reliance on defense mechanisms. There was little evidence about the timing (early vs late infancy) effects on children’s affect regulation. In Study II, finite mixture modeling identified seven unique family system types (FSTs): Cohesive (35%), Disengaged (5%), Authoritarian (14%), Discrepant (15%), Escalating Crisis (4%), Enmeshed Declining (6%) and Enmeshed Quadratic (5%) families. The results of Study III showed that both the emotionally distant (i.e., Disengaged and Escalating Crisis) and enmeshed (i.e., Enmeshed Declining and Enmeshed Quadratic) FSTs predicted children’s inefficient emotion regulation, anxiety and depression. Furthermore, most of the effects of the FSTs on children’s depression were mediated through inefficient emotion regulation. Finally, the results of Study IV showed that the FSTs had some unique effects on children’s emotional attention biases. Children from Enmeshed Declining families showed heightened attention towards threat cues, whereas children from Disengaged families showed signs of defensive avoidance of threat cues. This dissertation demonstrates the importance of considering families as holistic systems, involving both the mothers and fathers, and both the marital and parenting subsystems. In line with the developmental models of psychopathology, the findings indicate that very early family dysfunctions forecast children’s altered affect regulation, which may heighten their risk for mood disorders. Altered social-emotional information processing suggests that children may tune their affect regulation to adapt with the specific challenges they encounter in their early family environments.
Chapter
The second chapter on defense mechanisms consists of an extensive literature review and multiple definitional, conceptual, and applied contributions. The literature review covers the major themes of adaptation, coping, and stress and defense mechanisms. The section in adaptation, coping, and stress describes recent theorizing in the field; how stress affects the body, brain, and mind; and what happens in long-term stress. That said, stress is partly related to appraisals and varies from individual to individual, depending on context, age, personal factors, and so on. The brain is described in Bayesian terms, or in terms of predictive processing based on priors and current context. As for the area of defense mechanisms, the literature indicates an active field that is using psychometrically sound instruments to discover the workings of the unconscious. The area describes the development of defense mechanisms, but not in specific relation to their emergence in the stages of development. The discussion of the chapter presents the concepts of protectivity, defensivity, and offensivity. It presents a 15-point scale of coping involving stress/mitigation/magnification. It concludes by recommending that the terms of defense mentalism, defense modality, and defense function presenting a hierarchical model with these terms and that of defense mechanism.
Article
Assessment of defense mechanisms has a longstanding history within the clinical psychology and psychopathology literature. Despite their centrality to clinical practice, there are few self-report measures that assess defenses and, those that do exist, have limitations in addressing individual defenses and levels of defensive functioning. To address this need, we investigated the psychometric properties of the Defense Mechanisms Rating Scale - Self-Report - 30 item (DMRS-SR-30) with a global, community sample of 1,539 participants who responded to an online survey about distress and coping. Exploratory factor analysis found a three-factor model for the DMRS-SR-30 - mature, mental inhibition and avoidance, and immature-depressive. Internal consistency was high for the Overall Defensive Functioning (ODF) and the three extracted factors with coefficient alphas ranging from .75 to .90. Examination of concurrent validity with a commonly used measure of defensive functioning found significant relationships in the predicted directions. The group of immature defenses had the strongest concurrent validity (r = .50). Finally, correlations with external criteria - including psychological distress and adverse childhood experiences - supported the convergent and discriminant validity of the DMRS-SR-30. The three factor structure of the DMRS-SR-30 has good psychometric properties. Limitations and directions for future research, as well as clinical implications, are described.
Article
The present study belongs to a new strand of research in learning in higher education focusing on emotions and emotion regulation, including defense mechanisms. The purpose of the study was to investigate the mediating role of implicit and explicit emotion regulation in the relationship between academic emotions and approaches to learning. Participants were composed of 226 undergraduates (40 males and 186 females studying in a social science department). They completed the following questionnaires: Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, Student Experience of Emotions Inventory, Defense Style Questionnaire, and Approaches to Learning and Studying Inventory. Both the moderating (interaction) and the mediational (indirect) effects were examined using the PROCESS program. Results failed to indicate the moderating role of emotion regulation in the association between academic emotions and approaches to learning. Instead, results revealed the dominant mediating role of emotion regulation and particularly the role of immature defense style in the relationship between negative emotions and approaches to learning. Moreover, reappraisal and suppression seemed to act as mediators in the relationship between positive and negative emotions with deep and surface approaches, respectively. The results of the study are discussed in the context of the recent literature. Implications for higher-education institutions regarding the role of unconscious cognitive processes are also discussed.
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Zusammenfassung Hintergrund Während der COVID-19-Pandemie („coronavirus disease 2019“) kam es immer wieder zu Widerständen gegenüber nachweislich wirksamen Präventionsmaßnahmen. Eine solche durch Verärgerung und negativen Kognitionen gekennzeichnete „Reaktanz“ erleben Menschen (gemäß der psychologischen Reaktanztheorie) bei einer wahrgenommenen Bedrohung subjektiv wichtiger Freiheiten oder wahrgenommenen Versuchen, ihre Einstellungen oder ihr Verhalten zu ändern. Fragestellung Der vorliegende Beitrag beleuchtet die Rolle defensiver Prozesse im Kontext der COVID-19-Pandemie aus der Perspektive einer evidenzbasierten und abwehrsensiblen Risiko- und Krisenkommunikation. Nach einem Überblick über wesentliche Auslöser und Ausprägungen werden Möglichkeiten zur Minimierung von Abwehr diskutiert. Ergebnis Widerstände sind in einem gewissen Umfang immer zu erwarten, lassen sich aber durch bestimmte formale und inhaltliche Gestaltungen der Informationen minimieren. Hierzu zählen beispielsweise eine professionelle Anmutung, eine respektvoll wertschätzende und stigmasensible Grundhaltung, eine positive und selbstwirksamkeitsstärkende Ansprache sowie eine Vermeidung emotional überfordernder Informationen wie z. B. stark negative emotionale Appelle oder starkes Verlust-Framing. Schlussfolgerung Akteure sollten müssen sich darüber im Klaren darüber sein, dass Abwehrmechanismen durch die Kommunikation sowohl gefördert als auch reduziert werden können. Sie sollten wesentliche Auslöser hierfür kennen und durch eine konsistente, verständliche und adressatengerechte Kommunikation dazu beitragen, Unsicherheiten, Widerstände und Irritationen zu vermeiden.
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the premise of this chapter is that progress has been hampered and unrealistic expectations have been fostered by the assumption that stress and coping are special processes, governed by their own laws, and lying outside the normal range of human adaptation / by contrast, we have come to see stress and coping as an intrinsic part of the fabric of action and experience / argue that psychologists cannot expect to understand stress and coping fully until they have a complete psychology of human behavior, and that they should not expect to understand all ways of coping by using a single methodology / our reconceptualization also has more positive implications: it means that researchers can make progress by building on what is already known about the determinants of behavior and experience / our focus in this chapter will be on personality traits as influences on adaptation (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
It is often not just life stress but also a person's idiosyncratic response to life stress that leads to psychopathology. Thus, despite problems in reliability, the validity of defenses makes them a valuable diagnostic axis for understanding psychopathology. By including a patient's defensive style as part of the diagnostic formulation, the clinician is better able to comprehend what seems initially most unreasonable about the patient and to appreciate what is adaptive as well as maladaptive about the patient's defensive distortions of inner and outer reality. Clinical appreciation of the immature defenses (e.g., hypochondriasis, fantasy, dissociation, acting out, projection, and passive aggression) is particularly useful in classifying and caring for individuals with personality disorders.
Article
Over the past decade and a half, American research on the cognitive development of children has received its greatest impetus from the work of Jean Piaget (e.g., Piaget, 1963). Most of this research started from Piaget’s later studies and theorizing concerned with the evolution of rational thought. Much less attention was paid to Piaget’s early work (e.g., Piaget, 1929) on egocentrism. But the work on egocentrism seems most closely related to psychopathology and thus seems to warrant more study than it has heretofore received. The intent of the present paper is to provide a brief example of one of the directions such a study might take. The paper is divided into four sections. The first section reviews some of the history of the study of egocentric thought. In the second section, some of my own conceptions of the evolution of egocentric structures in children and adolescents will be described. The third section of the paper deals with the relation between egocentric structures and ego defenses at three age levels. Then, in the final section, some clinical and research implications of the discussion will be briefly presented.
Article
The present study investigated whether defense styles, assessed by the Defense Styles Questionnaire (DSQ), predict personality disorder symptom levels, assessed by the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-Revised (PDQ-R), in a manner consistent with Vaillant's (1971, 1977) hierarchical model of defense mechanisms. The DSQ and PDQ-R were administered to a mixed-sex sample of 106 undergraduate students. Results of multiple regression and correlational analyses were consistent with the predictions of Vaillant's model, in that: (1) the DSQ 'maladaptive' and 'image-distorting' defense styles were positively associated with the PDQ-R composite index, as well as with 11 and 7 PDQ-R personality disorder subscales, respectively; and (2) the DSQ 'adaptive' defense style was negatively associated with the PDQ-R composite index, as well as with 4 PDQ-R subscales. Each of the 14 PDQ-R scales demonstrated a unique pattern of associations with the 4 DSQ defense styles.
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it has long been assumed that people perceive in others qualities that they wish to deny in themselves, but empirical evidence for defensive projection is limited and controversial. A new model of projection is presented in this article. People might try to actively suppress thoughts about the possibility that they have undesirable personality traits, but it was hypothesized that this response to threat ultimately causes thoughts about the unwanted traits to become chronically accessible. As a result, those trait concepts will be used to interpret others' behavior. Studies 1-4 showed that those people who both avoid thinking about having threatening personality traits and deny possessing them (repressors) also readily infer those traits from others' behavior. Studies 5-6 provided experimental support for the model. Unfavorable traits were attributed to participants, who, when they were asked or predisposed to not think about the traits, subsequently projected them onto someone else.
Article
It was hypothesized that the need to maintain both positive self-esteem and descriptive self-consistency leads to use of psychological defense mechanisms, and that threats to positive self-esteem should evoke simpler defenses than do threats to descriptive self-consistency. Sixty-four students of education were presented with a list of 28 traits and asked to underline five self-descriptive assets and five faults. Participants were later presented with a short psychological diagnosis containing traits evaluatively inconsistent but descriptively consistent or evaluatively consistent but descriptively inconsistent with their choices. Each subject wrote a detailed opinion about the diagnosis, which was categorized by expert judges, each category subsequently being assigned to a specific defense mechanism or judged nondefensive. Only threats to positive self-esteem evoked defenses; no significant effect was found for threats to descriptive self-consistency. In discussing this finding, attention is paid to the fact that no control was provided for centrality versus peripherality of threatened traits; hence personal identity may not have been affected. Findings concerning the type of threat and type of defense are inconclusive.
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The author culls data from two studies to determine if the image-distorting defenses (splitting, omnipotence, devaluation, and primitive idealization) as measured by a self-report questionnaire are used more frequently by borderline personality disorders than other patients. Using the Defense Style Questionnaire, 25 borderlines showed no significant difference in their use of the image-distorting defense style compared to other patients. When defenses were measured by judges rating videotaped clinical interviews, 6 borderlines scored significantly higher on immature and image-distorting defenses than other patients. The author discusses the implications of these results.
Article
The Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ) is a self-report questionnaire and it revealed four factors upon factor analysis in a previous study. Each factor was presumed to be a group of defense mechanisms that we called a defense style due to substantial but limited validity. Further validation of the DSQ was tested in this second study by correlating 156 subjects' responses to the questionnaire with their scores on the Defense Mechanism Rating Scale (DMRS), in which judges rated defense mechanisms from a videotaped clinical assessment interview. There were significant positive correlations between the use of the maladaptive defense style on the DSQ and ratings of immature defenses by the clinical judgs (DMRS) as well as with low scores on the Health-Sickness Rating Scale. There was a significantly negative correlation between the maladaptive defense style and the clinical rating of mature defenses. There were significant correlations between four DSQ items measuring image-distorting defenses and DMRS rating of this group of defenses. Otherwise, the three least adaptive DSQ defense styles significantly correlated with the DMRS immature defenses; or when grouped empirically, the action defenses. The self-sacrificing defense style also correlated with the DMRS disavowal defenses. A 6-month follow-up that involved 39 subjects filling out the DSQ again showed stability of defense styles over time, with a shift toward greater maturity.
Article
• The relationship between DSM-III diagnosis and defense style was studied in a sample of 74 psychiatric patients. The subjects completed a self-administered questionnaire composed of 81 statements about behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, which were designed to reflect various unconscious defense mechanisms. Factor analysis yielded four defense styles ranging on a continuum from primitive to mature. Patients' defense styles were compared with their diagnoses on axes I, II, and IV of DSM-III. Significant relationships were found between defense style and only one diagnosis, major affective disorder. The fact that DSM-III diagnosis could not predict defense style suggests that diagnosis and defense style are two independent dimensions. If this can be confirmed by further, more adequate studies, a sixth axis reflecting psychodynamic formulation would provide additional information necessary for therapeutic planning.
Article
In a prospective study, borderline (BPD) but not antisocial (ASP) personality or bipolar type II correlated with the presence of psychotic or psychotic-like symptoms over a 1-year follow-up period. Psychotic symptoms were not associated with stressful life events but were associated with the use of borderline defenses (splitting, projective identification) in coping with life events. Both BPD and ASP had high rates of depression recurrences, whereas concurrent ASP and BPD had significantly lower rates than expected. Self-rated estimates of stress for the year's life events generally correlated with higher annualized recurrence rates. The use of both borderline and action defenses (passive-aggression, acting out, hypochondriasis) in coping with life events correlated with higher depression rates.
Article
This study was designed to assess a three level model of personality impairment, as hypothesized by S.E. Hyler, in a non-clinical sample, according to the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire (PDQ-R) total score, and the association of this three level organization with defense styles and state psychopathological symptoms, administering PDQ-R, Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ-SF), and Hopkins Symptom Checklist (SCL-90) to a sample of 254 first-year medical students. Hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis, performed on the PDQ-R total score, confirmed the three-level model. The one-way multivariate analysis of variance showed a significant (Pillai's V = .483 p < .0001) association between levels of personality impairment, and DSQ-SF and SCL-90 scales. According to 99% Bonferroni simultaneous confidence intervals, the DSQ-SF Immature Defense and all SCL-90 scale mean scores, except Somatization and Phobic Anxiety, were significantly different in all the three levels of personality impairment. The PDQ-R proved to be quite overinclusive, with particular reference to the Paranoid subscale.
Article
We present a theory about human thought named the unconscious-thought theory (UTT). The theory is applicable to decision making, impression formation, attitude formation and change, problem solving, and creativity. It distinguishes between two modes of thought: unconscious and conscious. Unconscious thought and conscious thought have different characteristics, and these different characteristics make each mode preferable under different circumstances. For instance, contrary to popular belief, decisions about simple issues can be better tackled by conscious thought, whereas decisions about complex matters can be better approached with unconscious thought. The relations between the theory and decision strategies, and between the theory and intuition, are discussed. We end by discussing caveats and future directions. © 2006 Association for Psychological Science.
Article
Piaget's distinction between the operational and preoperational child suggested the interviewing of 57 5- and 6-year-old children and 55 8- and 9-year-olds with respect to their understanding of the motivations of a child in 7 story situations. Each story exemplified in rudimentary form a different mechanism of adjustment, that is, displacement, wishful dreaming, projection, regression, repression, rationalization, and denial. Replicated comparisons indicated that (a) there was a fair degree of interstory consistency, (b) significant age differences appeared with respect to individual stories and to a composite Motivation Index, and (c) the projection story was most discriminative of age and most predictive of composite score. The Motivation Index was not significantly related to animism level but proved more discriminative between age groups.
Article
Questions addressed by this study included: “how well do children understand and how do they evaluate defense mechanisms in other children?”; “how does defense understanding relate to perceptions of defensiveness?”; and “do egocentric children have greater difficulty understanding defenses?”; To answer such questions, a sample of children were presented with seven stories illustrating defense mechanisms in “make‐believe”; peers. Children were asked to explain each story character's behavior and evaluate defensive characters for goodness, smartness, happiness, and likableness. Age trends reflected increasing defense understanding with age. Children who better rnderstood defenses were less egocentric. Externalizing defenses (projection, displacement) were perceived in highly unfavorable terms while an internalizing defense (self‐blame) was viewed more positively. Surprisingly, defense understanding related inversely to the favorability of children's evaluations of the defensive peer.
Article
A new self-report instrument, the Perceived Competence Scale for Children, is described. Emphasis is placed on the assessment of a child's sense of competence across different domains, instead of viewing perceived competence as a unitary construct. 3 domains of competence, each constituting a separate subscale, were identified: (a) cognitive, (b) social, and (c) physical. A fourth subscale, general self-worth, independent of any particular skill domain, was included. A new question format was devised which provides a broader range of responses and reduces the tendency to give socially desirable responses. The psychometric properties of the scale are presented for third through ninth grades. Emphasis is placed on its factorial validity. Each subscale defines a separate factor, indicating that children make clear differentiations among these domains. The factor structure is extremely stable across this grade range. The scale is viewed as an alternative to those existing self-concept measures of questionable validity and reliability.
Article
Explored possible relationships between the cognitive developmental level of preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational children and their success in interpreting each of 8 commonly described mechanisms of psychological defense. Ss were 30 children in kindergarten–Grade 6. Based on a formal analysis of the logical transformations inherent in various defensive strategies, 3 distinct families of defense were identified, each characterized by complex modes of restructuring the appearance of more candid forms of affect expression. The transformations characteristic of these alternative modes of defense were hypothesized to mirror a counterpart set of cognitive operations including the ability to take the inverse or reciprocal of various elements of thought, or to combine such 1st-order operations into 2nd-order operations upon operations. Results indicate that preoperational children, lacking the requisite cognitive skills, fail to understand defensive transformations of any sort; that concrete operational Ss commonly understand defenses involving inverse and reciprocal operations; and that only formal operational Ss are able to decode defenses involving 2nd-order transformations involving operations upon operations. (16 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Book
This volume proposes that defense mechanisms be considered as part of normal development and offers a general theory of defense mechanism development. The book provides an examination of the concept of defense, a comprehensive overview of the empirical and psychometric studies of defense mechanisms, and a new approach to measuring defenses. Part I reviews the conceptual models of defense and discusses the development of denial, projection, and identification throughout the life span. Part II provides an extensive review of numerous studies of 58 different measures of defense mechanisms. The use of questionnaires and other self-report inventories, as well as projective tests and clinical interviews, are discussed in this part of the book. In the last section a new approach to the assessment of defenses, the Defense Mechanism Manual, is described in depth. This approach permits thought processes to be revealed in an open-ended manner through extensive samples of verbal behavior. The psychometric features of the test are described, the validation studies are reviewed, and a scoring manual for the DMM is provided in the Appendix. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The influence of defense mechanisms in adolescence on moral judgment was studied using Kohlberg"s longitudinal study of boys and men. Beginning at ages 13–14 yrs and continuing for 20 yrs, the 44 Ss in this study were periodically interviewed about their moral judgments, aspirations, and relationships. These interviews were coded for defenses using N. Haan"s (1977) Q-Sort, yielding profiles of the salience of 10 mature and 10 immature defenses. Moral judgment stage scores were obtained from previous analyses. Adolescents with mature profiles of defenses reasoned at higher stages of moral judgment 10 to 20 yrs later than those with less mature profiles. Six specific defenses assessed in adolescence evidenced consistent relationships to moral judgment in adulthood. The value of embedding moral judgment research within the broader sphere of personality is discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Personality disorders are extremely difficult to diagnose because they are not always distinct from normal functioning and may contain overlapping symptoms. "Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV and Beyond" is [a] reference and training manual that has been . . . updated to incorporate the recent changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV). Theodore Millon guides readers through the intricate maze of personality disorders and clarifies the distinctions between them. [He] has also expanded his coverage of therapeutic intervention, making [the book a] useful tool for clinicians and mental health workers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
"The early fluctuating phase of essential hypertension is the manifestation of a psychoneurotic condition based on excessive and inhibited hostile impulses." The essence of psychoneurosis seems to be in the difficulties of adjustment in our complex cultural life. An hereditary explanation is unnecessary in those undeniable cases where neurotic traits run in families. Pathological changes leading to the irreversible malignant phase in hypertension are preceded by the early phase of developing functional disturbances. It is premature to formulate conclusively the therapeutic possibilities of psychoanalysis in essential hypertension. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Studied patient defensive behavior and therapist addressing defense (TAD) in short-term dynamic psychotherapy and brief adaptive psychotherapy in 28 adult patients with personality disorders. Three levels of patient defense (immature, intermediate, and mature) were coded. Only intermediate defensive behavior such as intellectualization and rationalization decreased. The greater the frequency of Ss' intermediate and immature defenses early in treatment, the better the outcome. Ss' defensive behavior was significantly correlated with the therapist addressing this behavior and with a decrease in immature and intermediate defenses. The frequency of TAD was significantly correlated with patient outcome. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Change in the adult identity of 155 participants from the Intergenerational Study, Institute of Human Development, was examined across a period of 24 years, and was related to theory-based life experiences and the use of defense mechanisms. The results indicated an increase in Achieved, Moratorium and Foreclosed Identity, and a decrease in Diffusion. As was expected from previous research and theory, identity change in middle adulthood and late middle age was predicted by use of the defense of identification. In addition, life experiences in the areas of work, marital and family relationships, social network, and political orientation were significantly related to identity and identity change. For both defenses and life experiences, IQ significantly moderated the predictions of identity change. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
ABSTRACT The effects of moderate stress on the use of defense mechanisms by 64 second- and sixth-graders were determined The use of denial, projection, and identification was assessed from stones told to the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) prior to, and subsequent to, an experimentally controlled experience of success or failure Subjects who experienced failure were more likely to use the lower level defenses of denial and projection, while the experience of success was followed by greater use of identification The results also were consistent with previous studies in demonstrating age and sex differences in the use of defense mechanisms
Article
ABSTRACT It is proposed that defense mechanisms may be characterized as forming a hierarchy, from least to most complex, and that the lowest level defenses emerge early in life, while the more complex defenses emerge later in development Three defenses–Denial, Projection and Identification–were chosen to test this assumption A method for assessing the use of these defenses in Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) stories was developed and validated in a study of four age groups preschool, elementary school, early adolescent, and late adolescent The results of the study were consistent with the prediction Denial was used most frequently by preschool children, and decreased in use thereafter Identification was used minimally by preschool children but increased steadily through adolescence The use of Projection was most frequent in the two middle age groups Some evidence for sex differences, based on the internal/external orientation of the defense, also was found
Article
This study investigated the relation between children’s use of defense mechanisms and their understanding of those defenses. We hypothesized that, once a child understands how a particular defense functions, the use of that defense will no longer be successful and will be replaced by another defense mechanism that is not yet understood. Defense use was assessed from the Thematic Appreception Test (TAT) stories told by 122 children; defense understanding was determined from the children’s understanding of stories portraying defenses. The results indicated that younger children (mean age = 7–8) used the defense of denial more than the older children (mean age = 9–11). Older children understood the functioning of denial and projection better than the younger children. A comparison of children who did and did not understand a defense showed that younger children who understood the functioning of denial were less likely to themselves use denial. Likewise, older children who understood the functioning of projection were less likely to use this defense.
Article
In two studies we examine the association between a person’s pattern of defense use, assessed by a new measure called the Defense-Q, and their adaptive behavior. We compare each person’s Defense-Q profile to a theoretical Adaptive Defense Profile (ADP) to obtain an ADP similarity score. In Study 1 we show in a student sample that ADP similarity scores are positively related to observed empathy and competence and negatively to hostility. In Study 2 we demonstrate in a population-based community sample that ADP similarity scores are positively related to nurse’s ratings of competence and nutritional based weight control programs and negatively related to hostility, depression, alcohol use, and weight control through the use of pills. These results suggest that defense use is related to adaptive behavior in a theoretically consistent manner, and that the Defense-Q shows promise as an observer-based instrument to assess defenses.
Article
Evidence for both stability and change in Big 5 personality traits was found for both men and women over a 24 year time period. The use of the defense mechanisms of denial, projection, and identification at early adulthood was found to be related to early adult personality traits, and to predict change in personality traits in middle adulthood and late middle age. Significantly, the importance of defense mechanisms for predicting personality change increased with age, while the importance of IQ decreased. The use of the immature defenses of denial and projection predicted increased Neuroticism, decreased Extraversion, and decreased Agreeableness. However, in interaction with IQ, defense mechanisms were found to have a compensatory effect, in that low IQ in combination with strong defense use predicted a more favorable personality outcome.
Article
In a prospective longitudinal study of 62 individuals from the Berkeley Guidance Study of the Institute of Human Development, we examined the pathway from early childhood personality to early adult adjustment and maladjustment. The results from a path analysis indicated that shifts in personality from childhood to adulthood, influenced by the use of defense mechanisms, was the strongest predictor of adult adjustment. Developmental shifts in Outgoingness, influenced by the use of the defense of projection, predicted better psychological health, less depression, but more anxiety. Shifts in Self-confidence, influenced by the use of the defense of identification, predicted better psychological health, less depression, and less anxiety. A theoretical explanation of these relations is provided.
Article
This study sought to explore the possible relationship between parental style of psychological defense and children's social competence in 50 families in which one parent had been hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder. Based upon a formal analysis of the logical transformations inherent in various defense mechanisms, three levels of complexity of defenses were identified, along with a counterpart set of cognitive operations necessary for decoding these defense levels. It was hypothesized that children lacking the requisite cognitive skills to grasp the logical complexities of their disturbed parent's primary mode of psychological defense would be less socially adjusted and judged less competent than children who could understand the defensive transformations of their parent. The results suggested that children who, due to their cognitive immaturity, are potentially
Article
The Ego and the Id ranks high among the works of Freud's later years. The heart of his concern is the ego, which he sees battling with three forces: the id, the super-ego, and the outside world. Of the various English translations of Freud's major works to appear in his lifetime, only one was authorized by Freud himself: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud under the general editorship of James Strachey. Freud approved the overall editorial plan, specific renderings of key words and phrases, and the addition of valuable notes, from bibliographical and explanatory. Many of the translations were done by Strachey himself; the rest were prepared under his supervision. The result was to place the Standard Edition in a position of unquestioned supremacy over all other existing versions.
Article
Reviews empirically derived syndromes of child behavior problems, and identifies those having counterparts in 2 or more studies. A distinction between broad-band and narrow-band syndromes was made. Broad-band undercontrolled and overcontrolled syndromes and narrow-band aggressive, delinquent, hyperactive, schizoid, anxious, depressed, somatic, and withdrawn syndromes were found in diverse samples of disturbed children. Two other broad-band and 6 other narrow-band syndromes were found in a few studies. Test–retest reliabilities and stabilities of syndrome scores were more adequate than interrater reliabilities. Cross-instrument and cross-population consistencies corroborated some empirically derived syndromes but the lack of independent criteria for categorizing disturbed children made it difficult to establish criterion-referenced validity. Because categorization of children by syndromes has been limited primarily to the broad-band undercontrolled–overcontrolled dichotomy, it is suggested that more efforts are needed to translate syndromes into categories for use by practitioners and researchers. It is concluded that further work in this area should be systematically linked to the existing mental health system and to efforts at reforming this system. (98 ref)
Article
It was hypothesized that experimentally induced anger would result in an increased use of defense mechanisms in college students. As predicted from the theory of defense mechanism development, the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) stories of angered students showed a higher level of use of projection and identification, and the use of these defenses was significantly correlated with the presence of aggressive content in the stories. The results were consistent with previous studies in showing that the predominant defenses of late adolescents are projection and identification, and that men use more projection than women.
Article
Projective stories were used to assess the defense mechanisms of 27 preadolescent boys who were victims of a lightning strike in which one boy died. Denial, projection, and identification, in combination, were found to be inversely related to clinical upset, as was the age and sex-appropriate individual defense of projection. In addition, low-defensive boys' self-reports of fears agreed more often with their parents' reports of sleep and somatic disturbances than did high-defensive boys' self-reports. The findings provide support for the validity of the Defense Mechanism Manual (Cramer, 1982) and raise the issue of defense mechanisms as moderator variables in self-report questionnaires.