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Yet another look at the CCRT: the relation between core conflictual relationship themes and defensive functioning
To further explore the links between relationship patterns and dynamic psychopathology, this study examined the association between core conflictual relationship themes (CCRT) and defensive functioning using the Defense Mechanisms Rating Scales (DMRS; Perry, 1990). The sample included 60 patients assessed early in therapy. Results indicated numerous correlations between the CCRT (pervasiveness, negativity, and the wishes, response of others, and response of self components) and the DMRS (overall defensive functioning and defense levels). In agreement with Perry's (1990) and Vaillant's (1992) hierarchy of defenses, opposite correlations were found for high- and low-level defenses. Overall, results agree with theoretical and clinical knowledge and, further, suggest that great care must be taken in choosing the instruments used to assess personality organization in CCRT studies.
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