Defense Mechanisms

Defense Mechanisms

Theoretical, Research and Clinical Perspectives

1st Edition - June 12, 2004

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  • Editors: Uwe Hentschel, Gudmund Smith, Juris G Draguns, Wolfram Ehlers
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080477077

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The book is focused on defense mechanisms as theoretical constructs as well as the possibilities of their empirical registration by different methods, and the application of these constructs in different fields of psychology with special regard to concurrent and predictive validity. It is argued that defense mechanisms are in many ways to be seen as integrative constructs, not necessarily restricted to psychoanalytic theory and that the potential fields of their application have a wide ranging scope, comprising many fields of psychology. Consequently empirical studies are presented from the fields of clinical and personality psychology, psychotherapy research and psychosomatic phenomena and diseases. Methodological questions have a heavy weight in most of these studies.

Key Features

  • Provides coverage of relevant literature
  • Covers different fields of application
  • Attempts an integration of the contstruct of defense mechanisms into mainstream psychology
  • Provides explanations of the theoretical basis of the construct of defense mechanisms


Senior undergraduate as well as graduate students and academics in personality theory, individual differences, clinical and diagnostic psychology.

Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • General issues
      • Chapter 1: Defense Mechanisms: Current Approaches to Research and Measurement
        • Defense Mechanisms in a Casual Social Contact
        • From the Historical Roots of Defense Mechanisms to Contemporary Conceptualizations
        • Defenses: Theoretical, Observational, and Measurement Aspects
        • The Full Scope of the Defensive Process
        • Coping, Defending, and Cognitive Styles
        • Empirical approaches to the measurement of defenses
        • Theoretical and Empirical Implications of Regarding Defense as a Complex Construct
        • The Implications of the Complex Model Interpretation of Defense for Further Research
      • Chapter 2: A Critical Perspective on Defense Mechanisms
        • Freudian Psychoanalytic Defense Mechanisms
        • The Work of Vaillant and Horowitz
        • Conclusions
      • Chapter 3: Defense Mechanisms in the Clinic, the Laboratory, and the Social World: Toward Closing the Gaps
        • Introduction: From Clinical Observation to Systematic Research
        • Defense Mechanisms: The Status of the Evidence
        • The Context of Defense Mechanisms
        • Defense Mechanisms in the Present: A Variety of Clinically Relevant Results
        • Beyond the Clinic: Extensions of Defense Mechanisms into Other Areas of Psychology
        • Unfinished Tasks, Unanswered Questions
        • Unfinished Tasks, New Topics
      • Chapter 4: What is a Mechanism of Defense?
      • Chapter 5: Percept-Genesis and the Study of Defensive Processes
        • Microgenesis, Percept-Genesis, and the Theory of Perception
    • Percept-genetic, projective, and rating techniques for the assessment of defense mechanisms
      • Chapter 6: Defense Mechanisms and Cognitive Styles in Projective Techniques and Other Diagnostic Instruments
        • Introduction
      • Chapter 7: Percept-Genetic Identification of Defense
        • The Defense Mechanism Test (DMT)
        • The Meta-Contrast Technique (MCT)
      • Chapter 8: Contributions to the Construct Validity of the Defense Mechanism Test
        • Method
        • Results and Discussion
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 9: Studying Defense Mechanisms in Psychotherapy using the Defense Mechanism Rating Scales
        • Introduction
        • Description of the Defense Mechanism Rating Scales
        • The Selection of Raters
        • Rater Training
        • Methods of Comparing DMRS Defense Scores
        • Important Considerations Regarding Different Data Sources
        • Reliability and Stability of Defense Ratings
        • Recent and Ongoing Research Relevant to Psychotherapy
        • Potential Directions for Studying Defenses in Psychotherapy
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 10: The Motivational and Cognitive Determinants of Defense Mechanisms
        • Introduction
        • The CO Theory
        • Author Note
      • Chapter 11: Repressive Coping Style and the Significance of Verbal-Autonomic Response Dissociations
        • The Repression Construct
        • Multiple Variable Approaches with Traditional Instruments
        • Person-Oriented Approaches
        • The Discrepancy Hypothesis
        • The One-Dimensional Operationalization of Repression-Sensitization and the Discrepancy Hypothesis
        • Multiple Variable Approaches and Person-Oriented Approaches and the Discrepancy Hypothesis
        • Skin Conductance Studies
        • Cardiovascular Studies
        • Conclusions: What Do the Discrepancies Indicate?
        • Verbal-Autonomic Response Dissociation and Health
        • Concluding Remarks
      • Chapter 12: Perceptual and Emotional Aspects of Psychophysiological Individuality
        • Classic Notions of Augmenting/Reducing
        • Conceptualizations of the Activity/Reactivity Typology
      • Chapter 13: A Psychodynamic Activation Study of Female Oedipal Fantasies Using Subliminal and Percept-Genetic Techniques
        • Hypotheses
        • Man Conditions
        • Woman Conditions
        • Method
        • Results
        • Discussion
      • Chapter 14: Adaptation to Boredom and Stress: The Effects of Defense Mechanisms and Concept Formation on Attentional Performance in Situations with Inadequate Stimulation
        • Introduction
        • Method
        • Results
        • Discussion
        • Acknowledgment
      • Chapter 15: Stress, Autonomic Nervous System Reactivity, and Defense Mechanisms
        • Defense Mechanisms and Physiological Reactivity to Stress
        • The Assessment of Defense Mechanisms
        • Defensive Behavior and Autonomic Reaction to Stress: Skin Conductance Level
        • Defensive Behavior and Autonomic Reaction to Stress: CV Reactivity
        • Paradigm to Study Defense and Physiological Reactivity
        • Method
        • Results
        • Discussion
    • Defence mechanisms inpsychotherapy and clinical research
      • Chapter 16: Clinical Evaluation of Structure and Process of Defense Mechanisms Before and During Psychoanalytic Treatment
        • Introduction
        • The Defense Model of Ego Psychology
        • The Defense Model in Melanie Klein’s Object Relations Theory
        • Research Methodology and Logical Definitions of Defense Mechanisms
        • Results of the Structure of Diagnostic Evaluation of Defense Mechanisms (Part 1)
        • Results and Discussion
        • Results and Discussion
        • Results and Discussion
        • The Process of Defense in Psychoanalytic Treatment (Part 2)
        • Theory and Method of Process Analysis
        • Results and Discussion
        • Conclusions
      • Chapter 17: The Measurement of Ego Defenses in Clinical Research
        • Variations in the Concept of Ego Defenses
        • The Life Style Index
        • Conclusions and Directions for Future Research
      • Chapter 18: Patterns of Adaptation and Percept-Genetic Defenses
        • Introduction
        • Method
        • Instruments
        • Results
        • Discussion
      • Chapter 19: Intellectual Performance and Defense Mechanisms in Depression
        • Method
        • Results
        • Discussion
        • Acknowledgements
      • Chapter 20: Defense Mechanisms and Hope as Protective Factors in Physical and Mental Disorders
        • Methods and Procedures
        • Results
        • Discussion
      • Chapter 21: Defense Mechanisms and Physical Health
        • Why Expect Defense Mechanisms to Play a Role in the Context of Physical Diseases?
        • A Study on DMs and Coping in Cancer Patients
        • General Conclusions
      • Chapter 22: Patients Confronted With a Life-Threatening Situation: The Importance of Defense Mechanisms in Patients Facing Bone Marrow Transplantation. An Empirical Approach
        • Introduction
        • Own Study
        • Results
        • Discussion
        • Acknowledgement
    • Defense mechanisms inPsychomatic Research
      • Chapter 23: Defense Mechanisms, Life Style, and Hypertension
        • Introduction
        • Method, Sample and Procedure
        • Results
        • Discussion
      • Chapter 24: In Defense of Obesity
        • Obesity - an Expanding Problem
        • Conclusions
      • Chapter 25: An Experimental Study of Severe Eating Disorders (Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa)
        • Introduction
        • Method
        • Results
        • Discussion
        • Acknowledgements
      • Chapter 26: Defense Organizations and Coping in the Course of Chronic Disease: A Study on Crohn’s Disease
        • The Heidelberg Research Project on Crohn’s Disease
        • Results
        • Summary
    • Defense mechanisms in neuropsychological contexts
      • Chapter 27: Defense Mechanisms and Their Psychophysiological Correlates
        • Introduction
        • Neuropsychology, Physiology and Defense Mechanisms: Is There an Empirical Link?
        • Coping and Physiological Reactions
        • Empirical Evidence for the Relationship Between Defense Mechanisms and Physiological Variables
        • Discussion
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 664
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © North Holland 2004
  • Published: June 12, 2004
  • Imprint: North Holland
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080477077

About the Editors

Uwe Hentschel

Affiliations and Expertise

Leiden University, The Netherlands

Gudmund Smith

Affiliations and Expertise

Psykologiska Institutionen, Lund, Sweden

Juris G Draguns

Affiliations and Expertise

Pennsylvania State University

Wolfram Ehlers

Affiliations and Expertise

Stuttgart, Germany

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