Skip to main content

Defense mechanism differences between younger and older adults: A cross-sectional investigation

Buy Article:

$55.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Abstract:

This study evaluated defense mechanism differences between younger and older adults and also assessed the relationship between defense mechanisms and perceived stress, in order to provide evidence of construct validity of a self-reported defense mechanisms scale. Community-dwelling younger (n = 259; M age = 19.7 years) and older adults (n = 69; M age = 70.8 years) completed the Defense Style Questionnaire and the Perceived Stress Scale. Whereas there were no age differences on adaptive defense mechanisms, younger adults scored higher than older adults on the Acting Out, Passive-Aggression, and Regression maladaptive defense mechanism scales. Maladaptive defenses were significantly and positively correlated (r = .57) with perceived stress. Cross-sectional results suggest a general stability of adaptive defense mechanisms across the lifespan but a lessening of maladaptive defense mechanisms with advancing age. These results dispel the myth that old age is associated with inevitable psychological impairment and suggest some specific positive psychological adaptations with age. The correlational findings provide partial support for the construct validity of a self-report measure of defense mechanisms.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13607860600963588

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, USA

Publication date: 2007-07-01

More about this publication?
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more