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Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Mar;158(3):467-73.

The response evaluation measure (REM-71): a new instrument for the measurement of defenses in adults and adolescents.

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  • 1Division of Child Psychiatry and Child Development, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305-5719, USA. steiner@leland.stanford.edu



There is widespread agreement that the concept of defense is useful, but large-scale studies with representative cohorts are lacking. Self-report measures capturing conscious derivatives of defense can facilitate such studies. The authors report the design and initial performance of a new self-report measure of specific defenses.


A 71-item questionnaire based on a developmental model of defenses was created, pilot tested, and refined. The item pool was given to two independent clinical researchers for the classification of items (concordance=98.5%). The instrument was then administered to 1,875 nonclinical subjects drawn from two suburban high schools and from a public waiting area of a local airport (1,038 female subjects; mean age=21.0 years, SD=11.9, range=13-89), who were also assessed with a simple screening measure covering demographic variables and satisfaction with life.


The internal consistency of the questionnaire items was good. Two factors emerged from a factor analysis of the items, paralleling Vaillant's theoretical model. Most defenses made unique, significant contributions to these factors. Defenses and factors related in the expected direction with scores on life satisfaction in various domains.


The Response Evaluation Measure is a brief, coherent, and potentially useful screening instrument for the assessment of defenses in adults and adolescents.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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