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Defence Mechanisms & Personality Factors in Substance Abuse Patients

Ankita Wadhawan*

Aim and Background: Defence Mechanisms are known to be the actions of the ego that take place in times where anxiety arises due to intrapsychic conflict in an individual’s mind. Personality can be defined as a set of characteristics that are relatively permanent and lifelong (Schultz & Schultz, 2005). Substance abuse is the term used when the tolerance for the substance increases, absence of the substance gives withdrawal symptoms, and its consumption causes clinically significant distress in social, occupational or recreational life (APA, 2013).The present research attempts to understand the relationship between the above three constructs.

Method: Purposive sampling was done from two de-addiction and rehabilitation centres (N=100), and the following three questionnaires were used: The CAGE- AID by Brown and Rounds (1995) was used to screen patients for substance abuse, PID V-BF by Krueger, Derringer, Markon, Watson, Skodol (2012) was used to assess personality dysfunction, the Defence Mechanisms Inventory by Mrinal and Singhal (1984) was used to assess the clusters of defenses being used by the patients.

Results: The findings suggested a significant positive correlation between substance abuse and Negative affectivity domain (.264, p= .008) and Disinhibiting domain (.225, p= .024) of personality dysfunction; and a significant positive correlation between substance abuse and Turning against object cluster (.242, p= .015) of defence mechanisms in patients. These findings were consistent with the literature review.

Findings: These findings may have implications in treatment by identifying the ego defenses that the patient uses in the course of treatment and aiming towards the eradication of any such maladaptive defenses in order to increase the acceptance of the patient towards the treatment.

Published Date: 2022-08-08; Received Date: 2022-06-08