The association between self-image and defence mechanisms in a group of adolescent patients receiving psychiatric treatment
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Klinika Psychiatrii Dzieci i Młodzieży Katedry Psychiatrii UJ CM
Ośrodek Psychoterapii Dorosłych Dzieci Alkoholików Krakowskiego Centrum Terapii Uzależnień
Bartosz Treger   

Klinika Psychiatrii Dzieci i Młodzieży Katedry Psychiatrii UJ CM, Kopernika 21a, 31-501 Kraków, Polska
Submission date: 2014-05-08
Final revision date: 2014-07-28
Acceptance date: 2014-08-11
Publication date: 2015-08-31
Psychiatr Pol 2015;49(4):747–756
The aim of the study was to explore the relationship between various areas of self-image and defence mechanisms in adolescents. The study included a division into groups according to whether or not they were receiving psychiatric treatment.

Data were obtained from two groups: a clinical group (30 persons), consisting of adolescent patients of the Adolescent Inpatient Ward of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic and a control group (40 persons), adolescents attending upper secondary school. The Defence Style Questionnaire DSQ-40 and the Offer Self Image Questionnaire were used in the study.

Results showed no differences, in the maturity levels of the defence mechanisms, between the two groups. Subjects from the clinical group had a significantly lower self-image of themselves than subjects from the control group.. In both groups, the use of mature defence mechanisms was accompanied by a positive self-image, while the use of less mature defence mechanisms was associated with a lower self-image. Comparison of the groups revealed different relationships between the aspects of self-image and used defence mechanisms, in particular the mechanism of projection. Number of significant correlations was greater in the clinical group.

In the context of lower self-image, the study revealed the importance of such defence mechanisms as projection, acting out, somatization or schizoid fantasies. The obtained results seem to confirm a hypothesis that the assessment of the maturity of defence mechanisms in the period of adolescence is less clear and clinically useful.