The defense mechanisms inventory: Theoretical and psychometric implications

Samuel Juni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Defense mechanisms and object relations have been increasingly featured in the recent literature on personality and interpersonal behavior. The Defense Mechanisms Inventory (DMI) has become popular as a reference tool in many of these studies. Recent theoretical analyses have elaborated the differential conceptualization of defense from drive theory and object relations perspectives (Juni, 1997). These perspectives are used as counterpoints to analyze relevant constructs of the DMI and their underlying premises. A meta-analysis of convergent validity data is presented, supporting the rationale of the composite object relations measure of the instrument. Inadequacies in defense operationalization inherent in the DMI are reviewed, with particular stress on confounding measurement effects. Psychometric implications of the ipsative nature of the instrument are outlined. The notion of aggression as a defense is explored in context of the unique dynamic status of intropunitiveness, especially as it impacts on defense theory and the factor structure of the instrument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-332
Number of pages20
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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