The Development of Defense Mechanisms During the Latency Period

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Abstract

The developmental period of latency, during middle childhood, has not been previously studied for possible change in the use of defense mechanisms. Using a validated narrative method to assess defenses, the present research examines change in children's defense use during this period. As predicted from theory, there was a significant increase in the use of the defense of Identification. This finding is consistent with theory that posits a shift at this time from defense against anxiety that is based on lack of impulse control to defense that is based on anxiety due to violation of conscience.

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