Book ch.1/ATI Ch (4,9)

adaptive mechanisms

helps people to achieve their goals in acceptable ways and reduce anxiety

maladaptive mechanisms

defense mechanisms interfere with functioning, relationships, & orientation to reality and are used in excess


Dealing with anxiety by reaching out to othersADAPTIVE USE: A nurse who lost a family member in a fire is a volunteer firefighter.


Dealing with unacceptable feelings or impulses by unconsciously substituting acceptable forms of expressionADAPTIVE USE: A person who has feelings of anger and hostility toward their work supervisor sublimates those feelings byworking out vigorously at the gym during their lunch period.


Voluntarily denying unpleasant thoughts and feelings.ADAPTIVE USE: A student puts off thinking about a fight they had with a friend so they can focus on a test.MALADAPTIVE USE: A person who has lost their job states they will worry about paying bills next week.


Sudden use of childlike or primitive behaviors that do not correlate with the person's current developmental levelADAPTIVE USE: A young child temporarily wets the bed when they learn that their pet died.MALADAPTIVE USE: A person who has a disagreement with a co-worker begins throwing things at their office.


Shifting feelings related to an object, person, or situation to another less threatening object, person, or situationADAPTIVE USE: An adolescent angrily punches a punching bag after losing a game.MALADAPTIVE USE: A person who is angry about losing their job destroys their child's favorite toy.


Unacceptable feelings or behaviors are controlled or kept out of awareness by overcompensating or demonstrating. Overcompensating or demonstrating the opposite behavior of what is felt.ADAPTIVE USE: A person who is trying to quit smoking repeatedly talks to adolescents about the dangers of nicotine.MALADAPTIVE USE: A person who resents having to care for an aging parent becomes overprotective and restricts theirfreedoms.


Performing an act to make up for prior behavior (most commonly seen in children).ADAPTIVE USE: An adolescent completes their chores without being prompted after having an argument with their parentMALADAPTIVE USE: An individual buys their significant other flowers and gifts after an incident of partner abuse.


Creating reasonable and acceptable explanations for unacceptable behaviorADAPTIVE USE: An adolescent says, "They must already have a boyfriend" when rejected by a another adolescent.MALADAPTIVE USE: A young adult explains they had to drive home from a party after drinking alcohol because they had tofeed the dog.


A disruption in consciousness, memory, identity or perception of the environment that results in compartmentalization of uncomfortable or unpleasant aspects of oneself.ADAPTIVE USE: A parent blocks out the distracting noise of their children in order to focus while driving in traffic.MALADAPTIVE USE: A person forgets who they are following a sexual assault.


Pretending the truth is not reality to manage unpleasant, anxiety-causing thoughts or feelings. ADAPTIVE USE: A person initially says, "No, that can't be true" when told they have cancer.MALADAPTIVE USE: A parent who is informed that their child was killed in combat tells everyone one month later that thechild is coming home for the holidays.


Emphasizing strengths to make up for weaknessesADAPTIVE USE: An adolescent who is physically unable to play contact sports excels in academic competitions.MALADAPTIVE USE: A person who is shy learns computer skills to avoid socialization.


Conscious or unconscious assumption of the characteristics of another individual or groupADAPTIVE USE: A child who has a chronic illness pretends to be a nurse for their dolls.MALADAPTIVE USE: A child who observes their parent be abusive toward the other parent becomes a bully at school.


Separation of emotions and logical facts when analyzing or coping with a situation or eventADAPTIVE USE: A law enforcement officer blocks out the emotional aspect of a crime so they can objectively focus on theinvestigation.MALADAPTIVE USE: A person who learns they have a terminal illness focuses on creating a will and financial mattersrather than acknowledging their grief.


Responding to stress through the unconscious development of physical manifestations not caused by a physical illnessADAPTIVE USE: n/aMALADAPTIVE USE: A person experiences deafness after their partner tells them that they want a divorce.


Demonstrating an inability to reconcile negative and positive attributes of self or others into a cohesive imageADAPTIVE USE: n/aMALADAPTIVE USE: A client tells a nurse that the nurse is the only one who cares about them, yet the following day, the client refuses to talk to that nurse.


Attributing one's unacceptable thoughts and feelings onto another who does not have them.ADAPTIVE USE: n/aMALADAPTIVE USE: A married client who is attracted to another person accuses their partner of having an extramaritalaffair.

Normal anxiety

a healthy life force that is necessary for survival, normal anxiety motivates people to take action(Ex; violent situation happens on a mental health unit, the nurse takes fast action to diffuse the situation. The anxiety experienced by the nurse during the situation helped him/her perform quickly & efficiently)

Acute anxiety (IMMEDIATE)

precipitated by an imminent loss or change that threatens an individual's sense of security(Ex; sudden death of a loved one starts an a cute state of anxiety)

Chronic anxiety (sustained trait)

this level of anxiety is one that usually develops over time, often starting in childhood. The adult who experiences chronic anxiety can display that anxiety in physical findings, such as fatigue and frequent headaches.

Stress Management

Clients ability to experience appropriate emotions and cope with stress