The empirical literature on defense and coping mechanisms has taken a step forward in the last decades, although it remains quite controversial in defining these constructs. Definitions, theoretical frames, assessment methodologies, studied populations, as well clinical implications are difficult to standardize whit regard to defense mechanisms and coping. In their impressive effort to review the literature, Silverman and Aafjes-van Doorn (2023) focus their attention on the theoretical and clinical debate about relationships and differences between coping and defense mechanisms and how they change over time. They offer a comprehensive and critical picture of the theoretical evolution of these two psychological constructs, sustained by an in-deep analysis of both cross-sectional and longitudinal research. While the firsts helped in capturing the relationship between coping and defense mechanisms, the second contributed to the dynamic understanding of how coping and defense mechanisms interact together over time. In doing so, they also raise several important questions about defining and measuring these essential aspects of emotion regulation and suggested the need to address future research to determine the directionality and temporality of changes in coping and defense mechanisms. In this commentary, we would like to further discuss these fundamental questions and suggest potential ways to redefining and remeasuring coping and defenses to succeed the controversies and improve our understanding of both these constructs and their clinical implications.

From Theory to Practice: The Need of Restyling Definitions and Assessment Methodologies of Coping and Defense Mechanisms / Di giuseppe, Mariagrazia; Lingiardi, Vittorio. - In: CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY. - ISSN 0969-5893. - 30:4(2023), pp. 393-395. [10.1037/cps0000145]

From Theory to Practice: The Need of Restyling Definitions and Assessment Methodologies of Coping and Defense Mechanisms

Lingiardi, Vittorio
2023

Abstract

The empirical literature on defense and coping mechanisms has taken a step forward in the last decades, although it remains quite controversial in defining these constructs. Definitions, theoretical frames, assessment methodologies, studied populations, as well clinical implications are difficult to standardize whit regard to defense mechanisms and coping. In their impressive effort to review the literature, Silverman and Aafjes-van Doorn (2023) focus their attention on the theoretical and clinical debate about relationships and differences between coping and defense mechanisms and how they change over time. They offer a comprehensive and critical picture of the theoretical evolution of these two psychological constructs, sustained by an in-deep analysis of both cross-sectional and longitudinal research. While the firsts helped in capturing the relationship between coping and defense mechanisms, the second contributed to the dynamic understanding of how coping and defense mechanisms interact together over time. In doing so, they also raise several important questions about defining and measuring these essential aspects of emotion regulation and suggested the need to address future research to determine the directionality and temporality of changes in coping and defense mechanisms. In this commentary, we would like to further discuss these fundamental questions and suggest potential ways to redefining and remeasuring coping and defenses to succeed the controversies and improve our understanding of both these constructs and their clinical implications.
2023
Defense mechanisms; coping strategies; assessment; theory; research; practice;
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
From Theory to Practice: The Need of Restyling Definitions and Assessment Methodologies of Coping and Defense Mechanisms / Di giuseppe, Mariagrazia; Lingiardi, Vittorio. - In: CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY. - ISSN 0969-5893. - 30:4(2023), pp. 393-395. [10.1037/cps0000145]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1696449
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