Primary Reference for the DSQ: Andrews, G., Singh, M., Bond, M. (1993). The defense style questionnaire. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 181(4), 246-256.

Items are listed by mature, neurotic, and immature factors. In parentheses at the end of each item is the specific defense that the item was designed to measure.


Mature Factor

3. I'm able to keep a problem out of my mind until I have time to deal with it. (suppression)

5. I work out my anxiety through doing something constructive and creative like painting or woodwork. (sublimation)

8. I'm able to laugh at myself pretty easily. (humor)

59.I can keep the lid on my feelings if letting them out would interfere with what I'm doing (suppression)

61. I'm usually able to see the funny side of an otherwise painful predicament. (humor)

68. When I have to face a difficult situation I try to imagine what it will be like and plan ways to cope with it. (anticipation)

81. If I can predict that I'm going to be sad ahead of time, I can cope better. (anticipation)

84. Sticking to the task at hand keeps me from feeling depressed or anxious. (sublimation)

Neurotic Factor

71. After I fight for my rights, I tend to apologize for my assertiveness. (undoing)

88. If I have an aggressive thought, I feel the need to do something to compensate for it. (undoing)

  1. I get satisfaction from helping others and if this were taken away from me I would get depressed. (pseudo-altruism)

86. If I were in a crisis, I would seek out another person who had the same problem. (pseudo-altruism)

51. I always feel that someone I know is like a guardian angel. (idealization)

58. There is someone I know who can do anything and who is absolutely just and fair. (idealization)

13. If someone mugged me and stole my money, I'd rather he be helped than punished. (reaction formation)

63. I often find myself being very nice to people who by all rights I should be angry at. (reaction formation)

Immature Factor

12. People tend to mistreat me. (projection)

66. I am sure I get a raw deal from life. (projection)

54. If my boss bugged me, I might make a mistake in my work or work more slowly so as to get back at him. (passive aggression)

82. No matter how much I complain, I never get a satisfactory response. (passive aggression)

27. I often act impulsively when something is bothering me. (acting out)

  1. I get openly aggressive when I feel hurt. (acting out)

76. I'm often told that I don't show my feelings. (isolation)

83. Often I find that I don't feel anything when the situation would seem to warrant strong emotions. (isolation)

24. I pride myself on my ability to cut people down to size. (devaluation)

29. I'm a very inhibited person. (devaluation)

31. I get more satisfaction from my fantasies than from my real life. (autistic fantasy)

40. I work more things out in my daydreams than in my real life. (autistic fantasy)

16. People say I tend to ignore unpleasant facts as if they didn't exist. (denial)

42. I fear nothing. (denial)

69. Doctors never really understand what is wrong with me. (displacement)

73. When I'm depressed or anxious, eating makes me feel better. (displacement)

23. I ignore danger as if I was Superman. (dissociation)

37. I've special talents that allow me to go through life with no problems. (dissociation)

43. Sometimes I think I'm an angel and other times I think I'm a devil. (splitting)

53. As far as I'm concerned, people are either good or bad. (splitting)

6. I am able to find good reasons for everything I do. (rationalization)

38.There are always good reasons when things don't work out for me (rationalization)

28. I get physically ill when things aren't going well for me. (somatization)

62. I get a headache when I have to do something I don't like. (somatization)