June 1985

Maturity of Ego Defenses in Relation to DSM-III Axis II Personality Disorder

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH (Drs Vaillant and Drake), and Harvard Medical School, Boston (Dr Vaillant), and the Harvard University Health Services, Cambridge, Mass (Dr Vaillant).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1985;42(6):597-601. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1985.01790290079009

• Independent raters assessed a cohort of 307 inner-city men on three dimensions of psychosocial dysfunction: the Health-Sickness Rating Scale (HSRS), axis II of DSM-III, and dominant choice of ego mechanisms of defense. Two thirds of the 74 men with personality disorders and three fourths of the 55 men with the low scores (0 to 65) on the HSRS primarily used immature defense mechanisms (ie, projection, schizoid fantasy, passive aggression, dissociation, hypochondriasis, and acting out). Only 10% of men without personality disorders and only 10% of men with HSRS scores of over 70 were noted to favor such defenses.