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Personality Theory/Defense Mechanisms

A significant and enduring aspect of Freud's theory is defense mechanisms. Using Cramer's article, "Defense Mechanisms in Psychology Today...."

-Explain how defense mechanisms relate to anxiety.
-What is one primitive and immature defense mechanism and one mature defense mechanism
-Describe each of these mechanisms.
- Indicate why people might use each mechanism.

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(1) Explain how defense mechanisms relate to anxiety.

Freud had argued that prolonged and troublesome conflicts involve sexual and aggressive impulses that society wants to control. Based on his theory, these conflicts are often played out in the unconscious. However, conflicts produce anxiety that develops as a part of conscious awareness. For instance, people have a tendency to express desires that make them feel guilty or anxious, and often harbor memories that are painful (Baumeister, Dale, & Sommer, 1998). This arousal of anxiety was a key concept in Freudian psychoanalysis of the personality. Anxiety leads to distress in which the individual tries to control through defense mechanisms. Defense mechanisms are unconscious reactions that operate to protect a person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety.

(2) What is one primitive and immature defense mechanism and one mature defense mechanism?

According to Cramer (2000), defenses are orders on a continuum, and are defined in terms of maturity and immaturity .As he explains, in adulthood, maturity defenses (e.g. honor, altruism,) are hierarchically arranged with the immaturity defenses at the bottom. This order was reversed for children with the immature defenses on the top, and the most mature defenses at the bottom of the hierarchy. Primitive defense mechanisms are those primarily from early childhood, immature defense mechanisms in which individuals are unable to adapt to social ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes how defense mechanisms relate to anxiey, and discusses why people use defense mechanisms.