defense mechanism


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defense

 [de-fens´]
behavior directed to protection of the individual from injury.
character defense any character trait, e.g., a mannerism, attitude, or affectation, which serves as a defense mechanism.
insanity defense a legal concept that a person cannot be convicted of a crime if he lacked criminal responsibility by reason of insanity at the time of commission of the crime.
defense mechanism in psychology, an unconscious mental process or coping pattern that lessens the anxiety associated with a situation or internal conflict and protects the person from mental discomfort. In the theory of psychoanalysis, the ego, following the reality principle, conforms to the demands of the outside world, but the id (repressed unconscious), following the pleasure principle, pursues immediate gratification of desires and reduction of psychic tension. The superego (conscience or morality) may take either side. Defense mechanisms develop in order to control impulses or feelings that lead to inner conflicts, to reach compromises between conflicting impulses, and to reduce inner tensions. They help to manage or avoid anxiety, aggression, hostility, resentment, and frustration. Defense mechanisms are not pathological in themselves; they can be a means of dealing with unbearable situations. Among the most common defense mechanisms are denial, displacement, identification, projection, rationalization, reaction-formation, repression, and sublimation.
defense reaction a mental reaction that shuts out from consciousness ideas not acceptable to the ego. See also defense mechanism.

mechanism

 [mek´ah-nizm]
1. a machine or machinelike structure.
2. the manner of combination of parts, processes, or other aspects that carry out a common function.
3. the theory that the phenomena of life are based on the same physical and chemical laws that govern inorganic matter, as opposed to vitalism.
coping m's conscious or unconscious strategies or mechanisms that a person uses to cope with stress or anxiety including turning to a comforting person for love and support, self-discipline, acting out or working off tension, talking and expressing feelings by crying or laughing, and also unconscious defense mechanisms, such as avoidance and rationalization.
defense mechanism see defense mechanism.

de·fense mech·a·nism

1. a psychological means of coping with conflict or anxiety, for example, conversion, denial, dissociation, rationalization, repression, sublimation;
2. the psychic structure underlying a coping strategy;
3. immunologic mechanism vs. nonspecific defense mechanism.

defense mechanism

n.
1. Biology A physiological reaction of an organism used in self-protection, as against infection.
2. Psychology Any of various usually unconscious mental processes, including denial, projection, rationalization, and repression, that protect the ego from shame, anxiety, conflict, loss of self-esteem, or other unacceptable feelings or thoughts.

defense mechanism

Etymology: L, defendere, to repulse, mechanicus, machine
an unconscious intrapsychic reaction that offers protection to the self from stress or a threat. Defense mechanisms are of two types: those that diminish anxiety and are used by an individual to integrate more fully into society and those that do not reduce anxiety but simply postpone the effects of feeling it. Anxiety-reducing defenses include compensation, identification, introjection, some forms of repression, and sublimation. Defenses that postpone full expression of anxiety include denial, displacement, isolation, projection, reaction formation, rationalization, regression, some forms of repression, suppression, and undoing.

defense mechanism

Psychology An unconscious intrapsychic process by which a person obtains relief from emotional confllict and anxiety Examples Compensation, conversion, denial, displacement, dissociation, idealization, identification, incorporation, introjection, projection, rationalization, reaction formation, regression, sublimation, substitution, symbolization, undoing. See Defense mechanism.

de·fense mech·a·nism

(dĕ-fens' mek'ă-nizm)
1. A psychological means of coping with conflict or anxiety (e.g., conversion, denial, dissociation, rationalization, repression, sublimation).
2. The psychic structure underlying a coping strategy.
3. Immunologic mechanism versus nonspecific defense mechanism.
Synonym(s): defence mechanism.

de·fense mech·a·nism

(dĕ-fens' mek'ă-nizm)
1. Psychological means of coping with conflict or anxiety, e.g., conversion, denial, dissociation, rationalization, repression, sublimation.
2. Immunologic mechanism vs. nonspecific defense mechanism.
References in periodicals archive ?
The unconscious mind chimes in with ego defense mechanisms, which allow the ego to deal with the anxiety and respond to the stress.
It is important for us to recognize 12 common defense mechanisms, [2] because most of them damage interpersonal relationships:
Researchers have been looking for a more general defense mechanism that might allow important crops to be bred or genetically engineered to withstand a wide range of assaults.
To protect internal networks from threats that bypass perimeter security systems, including e-mail worms, vulnerable mobile clients, and extranet users, Invision Security transforms an organization's existing infrastructure into a distributed defense mechanism.
Only in dire emergencies do sea cucumbers resort to their other defense mechanism - expelling their internal organs to distract hungry predators.
MBL binds to a wide range of invading organisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites and activates the lectin pathway of the complement system, an important defense mechanism of the immune system.
I prefer to think of it as selective denial, a defense mechanism of sorts.
Such an intricate defense mechanism evolves as an arms race between predator and prey, notes Robert L.
Tears also are an important defense mechanism against infection as they wash away irregular particles and irritants.
A recent review of such studies by scientists at the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research drew the following conclusions: ``It may be that plants make phytoestrogens as a defense mechanism to stop or limit predation by plant-eating animals.
But the findings add to evidence that "sleep, like fever, may represent a basic host defense mechanism," contend Michael Irwin, a psychiatrist at the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and his coworkers.
0 offers the first new defense mechanism, called the OSFirewall(TM), to guard the health of a PC at the core.

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