Research report: PDF OnlyPsychological defence mechanisms in patients with painTauschke, Elisabetha; Merskey, Harold∗,a,b; Helmes, EdwardbAuthor Information aDept. of Research, London Psychiatric Hospital, London, Ont.Canada bDept. of Psychiatry, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.Canada ∗Correspondence to: H. Merskey, D.M., Department of Research, London Psychiatric Hospital, 850 Highbury Avenue, P.O. Box 2532, London, Ont. N6A 4H1, Canada. Submitted April 25, 1989; revised July 28, 1989; accepted August 17, 1989. Pain: February 1990 - Volume 40 - Issue 2 - p 161-170 doi: 10.1016/0304-3959(90)90067-N Buy Metrics Abstract There is a long standing position that pain, and especially chronic pain, may arise from psychological mechanisms of defence. We have compared a group of chronic pain patients with a sample of psychiatric patients attending for reasons other than pain. The pain group had less evidence of poor care in childhood (measured by the Parental Bonding Instrument) and tended to use more mature psychological defence mechanisms (assessed with the Defense Mechanisms Inventory), compared with the other group. The pain group also had fewer current psychiatric diagnoses but more evidence of anxiety and depression on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. We conclude that in general the patients with chronic pain had more normal childhoods and more mature defences than the psychiatric control group. They showed an increase in the diagnosis of depression, attributable to reactive factors. In the sample of patients with pain the majority of the psychological change cannot be attributed to the operation of primitive psychological defences. © Lippincott-Raven Publishers.