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March 1983

Empirical Study of Self-rated Defense Styles

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital, Montreal.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1983;40(3):333-338. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790030103013

• A self-administered questionnaire that would indicate a person's perception of his or her habitual defensive style was constructed and tested. The hypotheses assessed were that defenses cluster so as to constitute "styles" and that these styles can be ranked as more or less adaptive. The sample comprised 98 psychiatric patients and 111 nonpatients. The tools used were (1) a questionnaire measure of self-appraisal of defensive style, (2) a questionnaire measure of ego adaptation, and (3) a sentence completion measure of ego development. The results, which argued strongly for the validity of a questionnaire measure of perceived defensive style, also showed that such defenses tend to cluster into styles that can be ranked on a developmental continuum, from "maladaptive action patterns," through "image-distorting" defenses, "selfsacrificing" defenses, and "adaptive" defenses.