Brazilian Patients with Panic Disorder: The Use of Defense Mechanisms and Their Association with Severity

Leticia Kipper, Carolina Blaya, Betina Teruchkin, Elizeth Heldt, Luciano Isolan, Kelin Mezzomo, Michael Bond, Gisele Gus Manfro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This study aims to evaluate the defense mechanisms most frequently used by Brazilian patients with panic disorder when compared with a control group. The study also examines the association between severity of disease and comorbidity and the use of specific defense mechanisms. Sixty panic-disordered patients and 31 controls participated in the study. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview was used to confirm the panic disorder diagnosis and to establish the comorbid diagnosis. The Clinical Global Impression (CG1) was used to assess severity and the Defensive Style Questionnaire (DSQ-40) was used to evaluate the defense mechanisms. Panic patients used more neurotic (mean = 4.9 versus 3.6; p < 0.001) and immature (mean = 3.9 versus 2.8; p < 0.001) defenses as compared with controls. Panic patients with severe disease (n = 37; CGI>4) had more depression comorbidity and used more immature defenses than patients with CGI≤4 (n = 23; mean = 4.2 versus 3.5; p < 0.001). It was concluded that the panic severity and depression comorbidity found in Brazilian panic-disordered patients are associated with the use of maladaptive mechanisms, namely immature defenses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • DSQ-40
  • Defense mechanism
  • Panic disorder
  • Severity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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