J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc.  2010 May;49(3):332-338.

Eight Years of Follow-Up Study with Regard to Defense Mechanisms in Medical Students

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Bucheon Hospital, Bucheon, Korea. hanyjung@schbc.ac.kr


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the changes in defense mechanisms in medical students as they progress towards becoming a doctor.
Ninety premedical students were enrolled from Soonchunhyang University. All subjects were evaluated at baseline, during their 6th year of medical school, during their 4th year as a practicing doctor by the Ewha defense Mechanisms Test which contained 20 defense mechanisms and 4 factors (unstable, narcissistic, self-negative, and avoidant). In the end, 60 subjects were included in the analysis.
During the period from premedical student to medical doctor, the use of passive-aggressive, acting-out, displacement, somatization, dissociation, projection, denial, regression, and distortion decreased significantly. Also, there was a significant difference in the use of defense mechanisms from the time as a premedical student to a medical student. However, there was no significant difference in the period from medical student to medical doctor.
We concluded that the use of unstable and avoidant defense scales decreased in the course of becoming a doctor from a premedical student, compared to mature or stable defense scales.


Self; Defense; Mechanism

MeSH Terms

Defense Mechanisms
Denial (Psychology)
Displacement (Psychology)
Dissociative Disorders
Follow-Up Studies
Schools, Medical
Students, Medical
Students, Premedical
Weights and Measures
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