International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 14 Num. 2 - June 2014


Examining the Defense Style Questionnaire 88 (DSQ-88) in an employee sample: Items and a two-factor model

Volume 14 Num. 2 - June 2014 - Pages 291-299


Marina Ramkissoon


The original 88-item version of the Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ) has been ignored in recent studies. The current study examined the scoring instructions in the DSQ-88 manual by investigating how the items used to score specific defense styles loaded in an exploratory factor analysis. It also sought to confirm a two-factor model of ego defense styles in a sample of 493 employees at a large, established university in Jamaica, West Indies. The DSQ-88 was administered to employees by research assistants during work hours as part of a larger study. Twenty-six of the 33 items used to score maladaptive action in the DSQ-88 loaded above .40 on a general maladaptive factor in the current data. Principal components analyses resulted in two factors (maladaptive and adaptive) which accounted for 39.4% of the variance and included items from 18 defense mechanisms. Confirmatory factor analysis supported a two-factor model with items from acting out, fantasy, help-rejecting complaining, splitting, inhibition, omnipotence-devaluation, passive-aggression, projective identification, regression, somatization and projection loading on a maladaptive factor and items from humor, sublimation, suppression and denial on an adaptive factor. Recommendations are made for the development of another shortened version of the DSQ-88 for use with employee populations.

Key words:

DSQ, defense mechanisms, Caribbean employees

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