Use of Defense Mechanisms and Self-Image among University Students

Author: Nafeesa Irfani

Supervisor: Ms. Omama Tariq

Degree: MSc

Year: 2011-2013

University: Institute of Applied Psychology, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan


The present research was conducted to explore the relationship between use of defense mechanisms and self-image among university students. It was hypothesized that there is likely to be a significant correlation between use of defense mechanisms and self-image among students of university likely a gender difference regarding types of defense mechanisms used. It was also hypothesized that there is likely a correlation between different facets of defense mechanisms and self- image. Purposive sampling technique was used to collect data. Correlational research design was used to examine the relationship between defense mechanisms and self-image. A sample of 100 students (50 males and 50 females) was taken from Government College University’s different departments were taken. Self-Image Profile for Adults (SIP-AD) and Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ) scale were used for the assessment. Pearson Product-Moment Correlation and Independent Sample t-test were used to analyze data. No significant correlation was found between four types of defense mechanisms; maladaptive actions, self-sacrificing, image-distortion and adaptive and self-image. A negative correlation was found among defense mechanisms facets; undoing and somatization with self-image. Gender differences were found in terms of types of defense mechanisms used. Females used more self-sacrificing and adaptive defenses than males did, this could be due to cultural factors. Also self-image is influenced by social factors. The implication of this study the research can give grounds to more studies in the future. The findings of this research can be applied to solve problems students face with low self-image and how to improve it. The self-reported measure of defense mechanisms can make individuals aware of the type of defense mechanisms they used and switch to healthy defenses. Also the students can reduce using defense mechanisms and improve themselves using self-affirmation theory

Keywords: Defense Mechanism, Self-image, Somatization, Self- Sacrificing.

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Corresponding Address: Department of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. Email:, Phone: 92-42-9231245

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