Describe and Evaluate Crammer (1997) Personality and defence mechanisms in adolescents.

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Describe and Evaluate Crammer (1997) Personality and defence mechanisms in adolescents. (12 marks)

Aim: The aim of the study was to investigate a relationship between identity, defence mechanisms, and self-esteem. Crammer wanted to test the idea that the greater an identity crisis, the more the person would use defence mechanisms. The study was carried to see if the findings of a previous study (Crammer 1995) would be replicated, and to see if by having a different sample (aged 23 instead of a mean age of 18,) different results would be found.

Procedure: The participants were 46 females and 45 males, who were part of a longitudinal study. Data had been collected from the age of 3 years. They came from a mixture of backgrounds and were all 23 years old. The identity personality (diffused, moratorium, foreclosed or achieved) was tested using the Q-sort prototype for Ego Identity Status. The test was set up to include cards with statements on them, and the participants were asked to sort the cards/statements according to what they felt applied to them. The statements were planned to match the four personalities, so the researcher could identify from the statements what participants felt about their state of mind. A score was calculated for each participant.

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Defence mechanisms were measured by using the TAT (thematic apperception task) The participants were shown the pictures and then must tell the story, which is then analysed. Each story was scored by a trained coder looking for three defence mechanisms.

Results: The results of the correlations were: denial 0.80, projection 0.85, and identification 0.78. It was found that the personality correlations were the same for both genders,

Conclusion: Diffused identity status gives the lowest self-esteem, moratorium gives fairly low self-esteem. The study helped to demonstrate what level each personality characteristic relates to the use of defence mechanisms.

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