Theoretical foundations of reaction formation as a defense mechanism.

S. Juni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Among the defense mechanisms, reaction formation is presented as the most stable, pervading the entire personality structure. The source of the defensive energy is explored within the context of drive theory, paralleling superego development and the processes of functional autonomy of other drive derivatives. The dynamics of balancing affect against behavior are analyzed with reference to the adaptive function of compulsion. Reaction formation is shown to relate closely to repression in its capacity for comprehensive impulse negation. the centrality of reaction formation within the constellation of anal characterology is underlined. Implications of the defense are discussed for empirical and clinical research in psychoanalysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-135
Number of pages29
JournalGenetic psychology monographs
Issue numberFirst Half
StatePublished - Aug 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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