Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

2020 Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Repression (Defense Mechanism)

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_1423



Repression is a defense mechanism whereby unpleasure-provoking mental processes, such as morally disagreeable impulses and painful memories, are actively prevented from entering conscious awareness. Repression is a central concept in classical psychoanalysis and provides the basis for explaining psychopathology in terms of psychodynamic processes (unconscious mental processes, conflict, and defense). Freud initially uses the terms “repression” and “defense” synonymously but then later treats repression as a distinct mechanism of “defense,” standing in contrast to other defenses such as reaction formation and projection. Repression is now commonly characterized as the basis of all defense mechanisms given that it involves interference with conscious awareness. A broader view of repression proposes a hierarchy of defensive avoidance responses, all involving motivated...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Macquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Simon Boag
    • 1
  1. 1.Macquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia