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Mature and immature defenses. A study of repressors and trait anxiety groups

  • Gudmund Smith
  • Ingegerd Carlsson
Publiceringsår: 2008
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 127-142
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Process and Personality. Actualization of the personal world with process-oriented methods
Dokumenttyp: Del av eller Kapitel i bok
Förlag: Ontos Verlag


To investigate defense mechanisms, repressors (n= 14), highly anxious (n = 37) and low anxious (n = 7) groups were tested with the Meta Contrast Technique (Smith, Johnson, Almgren & Johanson, 2001). The division into repressors and anxiety groups was made on a larger group (N = 140), which was also investigated with respect to experienced access to preconscious processes, here operationalized as memory for dreams.

Results: The repressors got higher scores on immature defense mechanisms than the highly or low anxious groups (p = .04 versus p < .05). The repressors as well as the highly anxious group were higher on a measure of overall defense than the low anxious group (p < .05 in both comparisons). Regarding the separate defense categories, a significant difference was found for repression, which was more frequent in the highly anxious than in the low anxious group (p = .003). Memory for dreams differed only in the men. The male repressors scored significantly lower on dream memory than the highly anxious men (p < .02).

The immature defensive structure in the repressors was discussed in terms of regressive reactions, speculatively due to a lack of symbolic functioning concerning anxiety-arousing areas, i.e. alexithymia.


  • Psychology


  • ISBN: 978-3-938793-89-3

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