The Relationship between Defense Styles and Aspects of Individuation in a Clinic

Aliza Grodko, Pace University


This study examined the relationship between defense style and adolescent separation-individuation, and predicted an individual's primary defense style would be associated with aspects of the separation-individuation process. Successful progress toward individuation would be indicated by high levels of identity formation and the development of ego ideals. Lack of progress would be indicated by depressive reactions and unhealthy parenting relationships. 181 females and 62 males seeking psychological treatment at an urban university clinic (M age=24.67) were administered self-report measures. Data was examined using bivariate-correlations, MANOVAs, and a mediation analysis. Significant positive correlations were found between higher-order defense style and individuation. Lower-order internalizing defense style negatively correlated with individuation and positively correlated with depressive reactions. A mediation analysis demonstrated that defense style and identity factors were mediated by depressive reactions, but not unhealthy parenting relationships. This studies support the finding that defense styles play a role in assisting the adolescent navigate the separation-individuation process.^

Subject Area

Psychology, General

Recommended Citation

Grodko, Aliza, "The Relationship between Defense Styles and Aspects of Individuation in a Clinic" (2014). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3581143.



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