Defense mechanisms in risk of suicide and risk of violence

A. Apter, R. Plutchik, S. Sevy, M. Korn, S. Brown, H. Van Praag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper reports on an empirical study of defense mechanisms in 60 psychiatric inpatients. Eight defenses - compensation, denial, displacement, intellectualization, projection, reaction formation, regression, and repression - were studied in the context of a two-stage model of suicidal and violent behavior. The results showed that use of regression as a defense differentiated suicidal from nonsuicidal patients, and use of displacement differentiated violent from nonviolent patients. Repression tended to turn aggression inward, and projection and denial turned aggression outward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1027-1031
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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