The distinction is often made between coping and defense mechanisms. Both are protective of the individual, and both provide some satisfaction for needs. Coping responses, however, are flexible and adaptive. They are more under conscious control and are considered more effective. Defenses, on the other hand, are more rigid patterns of behavior that ultimately may be maladaptive, and they usually operate automatically without conscious awareness. They allow the person to continue functioning, although in a more limited and inflexible way.
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