Bulletin of the Psychoanalytic Research Society, Volume IV, Number 1, Spring, 1995

Research Notes: Empirical Studies of Defense Mechanisms

The notion that individuals utilize ego mechanisms of defense is seminal to both classical psychoanalytic theory and object relations theory. Moreover, the concept of the "defense mechanism" is one of the most influential Freudian ideas in nonpsychoanalytic research, and represents a natural bridge between psychoanalytic and nonpsychoanalytic models of personality and psychopathology. Listed below are a selection of recent (and not-so-recent) articles in this area. These papers confirm that studies of ego mechanisms of defense continue to produce some very interesting findings which have important implications for psychoanalytic research and practice.

Bonanno, G. A. (1990). Repression, accessibility, and the translation of private experience. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 7, 453-474.

Cramer, P. (1983). Children's use of defense mechanisms in reaction to displeasure caused by others. Journal of Personality, 51, 78-94.

Cramer, P., Blatt, S. J., & Ford, R. Q. (1988). Defense mechanisms in the anaclitic and introjective personality configurations. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 610-616.

Davis, P. J. (1987). Repression and the inaccessibility of affective memories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 585-593.

Dollinger, S. J., & Cramer, P. (1990). Children's defensive responses and emotional upset following a disaster: A projective assessment. Journal of Personality Assessment, 54, 116-127.

Gershuny, B. S., & Burrows, D. (1990). The use of rationalization and denial to reduce accidentrelated and illnessrelated death anxiety. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 28, 161-163.

Glassman, M. B. (1986). Splitting: Further contributions to the development of a measure. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 42, 895-904.

Gottschalk, L. A., Fronczek, J., & Abel, L. (1993). Emotions, defenses, coping mechanisms and symptoms. Psychoanalytic Psychology. 10, 237-260.

Greene, L. R. (1993). Primitive defenses and the borderline patient's perceptions of the psychiatric treatment team. Psychoanalytic Psychology. 10, 533-550.

Hansen, R. D., & Hansen, C. H. (1988). Repression of emotionally tagged memories: The architecture of less complex emotions. Journal of Personality and SocialPsychology, 55, 811-818.

Heilbrun, A. B., Diller, R. S., & Dodson, V. S. (1986). Defensive projection and paranoid delusions. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 20, 161-173.

Horowitz, M. J., Cooper, S. H., & Fridhandler, B. (1992). Control processes and defense mechanisms. Journal of Psychotherapy Research and Practice. 1, 324-336.

Horowitz, M. J., Milbrath, C., & Reidnord, S. (1993). Elaboration and dyselaboration: Measures of expression and defense in discourse. Psychotherapy Research. 3, 378-393.

Johnson, J. G., Bornstein, R. F., & Krukonis, A. B. (1992). Defense styles as predictors of personality disorder symptomatology. Journal of Personality Disorders. 6, 408-416.

Levit, D. B. (1991). Gender differences in ego defenses in adolescence: Sex roles as one way to understand the differences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 992-999.

Lobel, T. E., Kashtan, O., & Winch, G. L. (1987). The relationship between defense mechanisms, trait anxiety and need for approval. Personality and Individual Differences, 8, 17-23.

Lobel, T. E., & Winch, G. L. (1986). Different defense mechanisms among men with different sex role orientations. Sex Roles, 15, 215-220.

Noam, G. G., & Recklitis, C. J. (1990). The relationship between defenses and symptoms in adolescent psychopathology. Journal of Personality Assessment, 54, 311-327.

Pollock, C., & Andrews, G. (1989). Defense styles associated with specific anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 146, 1500-1502.

Vaillant, G. E. (1994). Ego mechanisms of defense and personality psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103, 44-50.

Vaillant, G. E., Bond, M., & Vaillant, C. O. (1986). An empirically validated hierarchy of defense mechanisms. Archives of General Psychiatry, 73, 786-794.

Wilson, J. F. (1982). Recovery from surgery and scores on the Defense Mechanisms Inventory. Journal of Personality Assessment, 46, 312-319.

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