Comparison and change of defense mechanisms over the course of psychotherapy in patients with depression or anxiety disorder: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial.

Babl, Anna; grosse Holtforth, Martin; Perry, John Christopher; Schneider, Noemi; Dommann, Eliane; Heer, Sara; Stähli, Annabarbara; Aeschbacher, Nadine Theres; Aeschbacher, Nadine Theres; Eggel, Michaela; Sonntag, Meret; Berger, Thomas; Caspar, Franz (2019). Comparison and change of defense mechanisms over the course of psychotherapy in patients with depression or anxiety disorder: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Affective Disorders, 252, pp. 212-220. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jad.2019.04.021

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BACKGROUND Defense mechanisms play an important role in the development and maintenance of both health and psychopathology. Research is still in the early stages of investigating the specific relationships among diagnostic groups and defense mechanisms along with their response to different treatment types. METHODS For the present study a total of 47 outpatients diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorders were randomized to receive 25±3 sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy with integrated elements of either emotion-focused therapy (CBT + EFT) or treatment components based on self-regulation theory (CBT + SR). An observer-rated method, the Defense Mechanism Rating Scale (DMRS) was used to code transcripts of the 1st, 8th, 16th and 24th session to assess change in defensive functioning. RESULTS Over the course of therapy, overall defensive functioning (ODF) as well as adaptive defenses increased significantly, whereas maladaptive and neurotic defenses did not change. At the beginning of treatment, the proportion of adaptive defenses and ODF was significantly higher in patients diagnosed with anxiety disorders than in patients with depressive disorders. However, depressed patients exhibited greater improvement in their defensive functioning over the course of therapy. CONCLUSIONS Results support the view of defense mechanisms as a useful transdiagnostic and transtheoretical concept and supports the notion that change of defense mechanisms may be a relevant mechanism of change in psychotherapy.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

UniBE Contributor:

Babl, Anna Margarete; grosse Holtforth, Martin; Schneider, Noemi Sara; Dommann, Eliane Florence; Heer, Sara Soraya Suleika; Stähli, Annabarbara; Aeschbacher, Nadine Theres; Aeschbacher, Nadine Theres; Berger, Thomas and Caspar, Franz

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology

ISSN:

0165-0327

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Melanie Best

Date Deposited:

08 Oct 2019 10:19

Last Modified:

30 Mar 2020 14:34

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.jad.2019.04.021

PubMed ID:

30986736

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Anxiety Cognitive-behavioral therapy Defense-mechanisms Depression Emotion-focused therapy Randomized controlled trial

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.133742

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/133742

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