On within-defense variability and defenses in male federal offenders
Sheppard, Michael David
There were two purposes to the current set of studies. The first was to test the validity of the Adaptiveness of Defenses Scale (ADS), a new measure developed to assess variability within ego defense mechanisms. Study 1 addressed the validity of the ADS with a sample of 104 male undergraduates. The ADS was hypothesized to account for significant unique variance on dependent measures (the PAI, ECR, and final grade in introductory psychology) beyond that accounted for by the Defense-Q. Regression analyses showed that a different pattern emerged. The Defense-Q and ADS accounted for different aspects of the dependent variables, with the Defense-Q predicting PAI Somatization scale scores and the ADS predicting ECR avoidance scale scores. Study 2 addressed the validity of the ADS with a sample of 64 male federal inmates. The ADS was hypothesized to account for significant unique variance on dependent measures (the BPI, PCL-R, and PAS) beyond that accounted for by the Defense-Q. As with Study 1, the two measures tended to predict different aspects of the dependent measures. The Defense-Q predicted immature defense factor scores on the BPI as well as BPI total score, and it predicted affective instability factor scores on the PAS, as well as PAS total score. Conversely, the ADS predicted PCL-R total and Factor 1 scores. The relation between the Defense-Q ADP similarity score and the PCL-R interpersonal facet was significantly positive, while the relation between the ADS total score and this facet was significantly negative. The results of Studies 1 and 2 suggest that the ADS captures an aspect of defensive functioning different from that measured by the Defense-Q, likely related to interpersonal functioning. Study 3 examined the relation between defenses (measured by the Defense-Q and ADS) and correctional variables (offense history, institutional incidents, institutional charges, urinalysis outcomes, and correctional program outcomes), as well as examined Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal differences. The differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal inmates tended to show that non-Aboriginal inmates were older and had more aggressive criminal histories as well as higher PCL-R total and Factor 1 scores. They also tended to have more problematic institutional adjustments, likely because of their higher levels of psychopathy. The Defense-Q was significantly related to general offence history for Aboriginal inmates and the ADS was significantly related to violence history for non-Aboriginal inmates, but other significant relations were sparse. The results of the current series of studies provides preliminary support for the idea that individual defenses have their own ranges of adaptiveness, as the ADS scores male undergraduates and male inmates were significantly different for the same defenses. Given the pattern of the relations of the ADS to the dependent variables, it appears that the ADS is sensitive to interpersonal functioning.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorWormith, J. Stephen
CommitteeHIbbard, Stephen; MacGregor, Michael W.; Wong, Stephen; Hoffman, Sarah
Copyright DateNovember 2009