Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 83 Issue 1 (March 2010), Pages 1-109

The use of the defence style questionnaire in major depressive and panic disorders: A comprehensive meta‐analysis (pages 1-13)

Purpose. The issue of defence mechanisms is of great importance in clinical practice. The aim of this meta‐analysis is to compare different defence styles (Mature, Neurotic, and Immature), assessed using the three‐factor defence style questionnaire (DSQ), in major depressive disorder (MDD), and panic disorder (PD) in order to evaluate potential differences in defence profiles among these disorders.

Methods. We assessed all publications listed in PubMed, PsycINFO, ISI, and Lilacs databases focusing on DSQ defence styles in MDD and PD. To be included studies had to be published in English, to include psychiatric patients, to provide defence style mean scores, and to employ the three‐factor DSQ versions. Data were entered into the Cochrane Collaboration Review Manager Software and analysed by RevMan version 4.2.

Results. MDD patients reported significantly lower scores in Mature style and both MDD and PD patients reported significantly higher scores in Neurotic and Immature styles.

Conclusions. A dissimilarity between depressive and anxious profiles emerged, since the former profile was characterized by low Mature and high Neurotic and Immature scores while the latter by high Neurotic and Immature scores only. These results could indicate the use of specific strategies in clinical and psychotherapeutic management of patients with these diagnoses. Nevertheless, present results should be considered with caution because of the high heterogeneity of the studies and some weaknesses in the psychometric properties of the DSQ.

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