Psychological defenses and psychiatric symptoms in adults with pediatric spinal cord injuries

P Sammallahti, M Kannisto, V Aalberg
1996 Spinal Cord  
The psychological defenses and psychiatric morbidity of 30 adults with pediatric spinal cord injury and of 235 community controls were compared several years after the occurence of the injury. The patient group did not report more symptoms when measured with the Symptom Checklist-90 than the control group, but there were some characteristic features in their use of defenses as measured with the Defense Style Questionnaire. The adaptation process seems to follow a pattern: the greater the length
more » ... of time since the injury, the less likely were the immature defenses omnipotence-devaluation and regression and the higher were the scores on the mature defense anticipation. It appears that the same result-symptom free adaptation-is first achieved by more immature means but as the adaptation process evolves, the psychological equilibrium can be maintained by mature defenses which do not distort reality. Furthermore, the results that patients with pediatric spinal cord injury scored higher on fantasy (daydreaming) and passive aggression (silent resistance) suggest that being injured very young may leave some faint, yet permanent psychodynamic traces.
doi:10.1038/sc.1996.121 pmid:8918964 fatcat:qemuk2xbcfhptgvg4pwjwyycoy