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2008 | 39 | 3 | 111-117

Article title

Identity Processing Style and Defense Mechanisms


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To investigate relationships between identity processing styles and patterns of defense mechanisms, 213 participants (Mean age = 23.01 years) completed measures of defense-mechanism clusters and styles of negotiating (or managing to avoid) identity conflicts and threats (64% of the participants were female). A self-exploratory, informational identity style was associated with defense mechanisms that control anxiety and threats via internal cognitive maneuvers. In contrast, a diffuse-avoidant identity style was found to be related to maladaptive defensive maneuvers including turning against others and turning aggression inward against oneself, which is related to depressive reactions. A foreclosing, normative identity style was associated with defenses that limit awareness of threatening ideas and information by denial, distortion, and negation. None of these relationships was qualified by age or gender. The findings are discussed in terms of a process model of identity development that emphasizes social-cognitive differences in how individuals construct, maintain, and reconstruct their self-identity.








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source-id: PPB_39_3\V574TH47030X261U.xml

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  • Michael Berzonsky, Department of Psychology, SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY 13045 USA


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