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Ponomareva I. V. Defensive-coping behaviour in teenagers and adolescents. Izvestiya of Saratov University. Educational Acmeology. Developmental Psychology, 2021, vol. 10, iss. 2, pp. 150-157. DOI:

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Defensive-coping behaviour in teenagers and adolescents


The article presents data on studying correspondence between psychological defense mechanisms and coping strategies in teenage and adolescent years within the context of a unified system of self-regulation and adaptation. The relevance of research into defensive-coping behavior is conditioned by the need to understand interaction between defense mechanisms and coping strategies in teenage years and adolescence, as well as to solve the practical problem, i.e. to improve adaptive capabilities of adolescents and young men in stressful situations by reducing non-constructive forms of defensive-coping behavior. The purpose of the study is to investigate the interconnection between defense mechanisms and coping strategies as an individual makes a transition from teenage to adolescent years. Supposedly, defense mechanisms and coping strategies can both complement and contradict each other in teenage and adolescent years. The study was carried out on a sample (N = 203) consisting of representatives of teenage (n = 94, aged 12 to 15) and adolescent age groups (n = 109, aged 17 to 19), who attended general education and vocational schools of the town of Lipetsk. We used the following techniques: Life style index (R. Plutchik et al.), SACS test (S. Hobfoll). Based on the factor analysis, we singled out 4 styles of defensive-coping behaviour in teenagers (which explain 56.2% of general dispersion) and 5 styles of defensive-coping behaviour in adolescents (which explain 62.1% of general dispersion). We determined the factorial structure of the defensive-coping behavior of adolescents and young men. The analysis of the variables of the identified factors established the following: 1) problem-oriented coping strategies are in opposition to the defensive mechanism of regression; 2) immature forms of defense mechanisms (regression and substitution) "support" non-constructive coping strategies; 3) in adolescence, problem-oriented coping is used more actively. To ensure positive result in counseling practice with adolescents and young men, it is important to work with both non-constructive coping strategies and immature defenses.

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