Document Detail

An empirical study of defense mechanisms in dysthymia.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8328563     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVE: The psychodynamic approach to understanding dysthymia has rarely been empirically tested. In this pilot study the Defense Mechanism Rating Scales were used to examine psychodynamic data from patients with dysthymia and patients with panic disorder in order to test the hypotheses that 1) dysthymic patients would be similar to panic patients in endorsing primarily lower-maturity defense mechanisms, 2) dysthymic patients would use a distinct pattern of defense mechanisms, different from that of panic patients, and 3) dysthymic patients would endorse more frequently than panic patients four individual defenses that tend to handle anger and low self-esteem poorly: devaluation, passive aggression, projection, and hypochondriasis. METHOD: Twenty-two subjects meeting the DSM-III-R criteria for primary early-onset dysthymia and 22 subjects meeting the DSM-III-R criteria for primary panic disorder were interviewed on videotape and rated on the Defense Mechanism Rating Scales. RESULTS: The dysthymic subjects scored significantly higher on narcissistic, disavowal, and action defense levels and on the four individual defenses of devaluation, projection, passive aggression, and hypochondriasis, as predicted, as well as on two additional defenses, acting out and projective identification. Both groups tended to use lower-maturity defense mechanisms. CONCLUSIONS: The defense mechanism profile identified for dysthymia differs from that for panic disorder and supports particular psychodynamic hypotheses about chronic depression. It could be useful in devising treatment strategies and as a measure of treatment efficacy.
A L Bloch; M K Shear; J C Markowitz; A C Leon; J C Perry
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American journal of psychiatry     Volume:  150     ISSN:  0002-953X     ISO Abbreviation:  Am J Psychiatry     Publication Date:  1993 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1993-08-12     Completed Date:  1993-08-12     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370512     Medline TA:  Am J Psychiatry     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1194-8     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Payne Whitney Clinic, New York, NY.
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MeSH Terms
Acting Out
Defense Mechanisms*
Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*,  psychology
Diagnosis, Differential
Panic Disorder / diagnosis,  psychology
Pilot Projects
Grant Support

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