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The Relationship of Psychological Defenses and Gender Identity During Puberty 1985
The results of the study on relationship between psychological defenses and gender identity at puberty, aiming to study gender specifics of the psychological defenses in adolescents, are presented. We hypothesized that there are gender differences in the use of defense mechanisms during the junior adolescent, older adolescent and early youth age, as well as there are gender-specific types of defenses that are most often used by representatives of both male and female sex regardless of their age, which are associated with the assimilation of gender identity aspects. The study involved 247 secondary school students (54% male 46% female) aged 11 to 17 years. The main group comprised 147 six-graders, with average age of 12 years (60% male and 40% female). The subjects were tested each year during two years. At the initial stage of the study 50 students from 9th grade were involved as the comparison groups, average age of 14.5 years (50% male and 50% female) and 50 students from 11th grade, average age of 16.5 years (50% male and 50% female). The study identified the gender and age specifics of the psychological defense functioning in puberty and has shown that sex differences in the use of psychological defenses may have their typical manifestations and can be determined by both the biological characteristics of the individual and by the aspects of the assimilation of gender identity.
Keywords: psychological defenses, sex differences, gender identity, adolescents, masculinity, femininity.
Column: Developmental Psychology