Cause Of Regression In Psychology

1478 Words 6 Pages
A Child at Heart and in Mind
Screaming, throwing objects, clinginess, are all common behaviors, maybe even expected behaviors, that are seen in children reacting to situations that are not seen as being in their favor. However, when used by adults this behavior is referred to as regression as is rarely accepted or tolerated. Although regression is a well-known defense mechanism and commonly used, in actuality reverting to an earlier mental stage causes negative effects to one’s mental growth and social life.
Regression is the act of reverting to an earlier stage of emotional and/or mental growth. In Daniel Segal et al.’s article "Defense Mechanism Differences Between Younger And Older Adults: A Cross-Sectional Investigation.” it is explained
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As an individual’s level of stress increases the likelihood of them using a maladaptive defense also increases, regardless of one’s age (Segal et al., 6). Maladaptive defenses are ones that have an increased chance of worsening one’s mental state. When stress increases past a certain level the ability to effectively and positively handle it decreases rapidly. Individuals who scored low on openness may be more likely to repress or deny conflicts due to their unconscious having a simplistic view of external situations (Furnham, 10).For instance, one who has experienced past sexual abuse might refrain from future sexual acts in order to maintain their child-like qualities. As seen in Ines Rachao and Rui Campos’ article "Personality Styles And Defense Mechanisms In A Community Sample Of Adolescents: An Exploratory Study” “Individuals with a borderline tendency use regression as the main defense. These [individuals] tend to regress to earlier developmental stages under stressful conditions”. Borderline tendency is known to involve inappropriate or difficult to control anger, self-damaging impulsivity, and general mood instability. This behavior allows the individual to control those around them, they are unable to keep up, therefore they must use methods to maintain relationships the only way they know …show more content…
After being diagnosed with cancer many patients experience an “existential plight” that comes with intense emotional distress. This then leads them to developing psychological distress symptoms which can harm their quality of life. This raises chances of developing depression. Edward Helmes’ article "The Construct Of Alexithymia: Associations With Defense Mechanisms." discusses how the inability to process emotions leads to a regression in emotional capacity. Being unable to handle emotions causes the patient to act in ways that hinder their treatment. Examples being refusing chemotherapy, taking the proper medication, and overexerting themselves. This then leads to the individual being “more likely to avoid stressful events by unconsciously distorting reality in line with internal needs, acts aggressively, or detach or displace one’s emotions away from the external event via false rationalization” (Furnham, 9). An aggressive patient is less likely to get the help they need and only hinder a doctor’s work. False rationalization shows a lack of comprehending one’s situation making them unable to properly make decisions for themselves. Until the patient is able to show emotional stability and the regression has subsided their care should be handled by a medical

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