Relationship of defense styles with history of childhood trauma and personality in heroin dependent inpatients
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In the present study the defense styles were assessed in heroin dependent inpatients to verify whether they used less adaptive defense mechanisms compared to healthy controls and to evaluate if immature defense styles are related with childhood traumas, while controlling the effect of age, temperament and character on this relationship in male heroin dependent inpatients. Participants were consecutively admitted 109 male heroin dependent inpatients and 60 healthy controls. Patients were investigated with the Defense Style Questionnaire, the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, and Temperament and Character Inventory. Heroin dependent patients were using immature defense style more, particularly acting-out and splitting, than the control group. Together with lower age, immature defense style discriminated heroin dependents from control group (lower age, and higher devaluation and splitting in second regression model). Lower physical neglect score was related with a mature defense style, whereas higher cooperativeness (C) and self-transcendence (ST) were related with a neurotic defense style and lower reward dependence (RD), self-directedness (SD) and higher ST and emotional abuse were related with immature defense style. These suggest that heroin dependents are using maladaptive immature defense styles more, which can be taken into account in the development of therapeutic programs for these patients. Also, immature defense style may mediate the relationship between childhood emotional abuse and some personality dimensions (lower RD, SD and higher ST) in heroin dependent inpatients. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.