This study examined the relations between emotion regulation and defense mechanisms as assessed through self-report questionnaires. Participants were 314 undergraduate students at the University of Turin (Faculty of Agricultural Studies, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences and Faculty of Psychology). Correlational analysis identified several associations between emotion regulation strategies and defense mechanisms. A second-order factor model was tested in which each of the dimensions assessed by the defense mechanisms and emotion regulation instruments was assigned to either an adaptive or maladaptive latent dimension. The results suggested that the dimensions of adaptiveness and maladaptiveness may represent a key link between emotion regulation and defense mechanisms.