Identifying indicators of defensive activity in narration about important interpersonal relations
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Submission date: 2014-09-14
Acceptance date: 2014-10-03
Online publication date: 2014-10-23
Publication date: 2014-10-23
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2014;2(3):149-163
One of the main components of psychological conversation that influence communication is psychological defensiveness. 
In the paper I propose processual – situational understanding of defensiveness, and its measurement based on coding system. Preliminary results on link between personality traits and defensiveness in people’s narratives are presented as well.

Participants and procedure
To test proposed coding system, study was conducted with participants presenting different levels of personality organization’s (borderline: n = 35, 20 women, M = 26.09, SD = 4.82, neurotic: n = 29, 24 women, M = 25.90, SD = 5.25, integrated: n = 31, 26 women, M = 21.94, SD = 1.69). Correlation method was applied (Borderline Personality Inventory, Neuroticism Scale, Emotion Control Inventory), as well as narrative’s interviews. Participants’ statements were coded by competent judges (defensiveness and coherence of narratives), and by automatic lexical analyses (descriptive indicators).

Results indicate that proposed defensiveness coding system is a set of heterogeneous indicators, and four groups of indicators could be extracted. Correlations between those indicators and expression control (positive relation), and coherence of narratives (negative relation). Moreover, differences between borderline participants and neurotic ones emerged.

Proposed coding system seems to be a heterogeneous but useful tool for assessing defensiveness during psychological interviews. It could be applied as an element of a procedural control measures, directed to test the reliability of psychological conversation.
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