Previous investigations, using an effective non-invasive procedure of short-term experimental stress, proved that Obese vs. Normal Women develop about double the intensity of negative emo- tions (anxiety, anger, sadness) when under stress (Bonaiuto et al., 1993). A high production of negative emotions as a reaction to many everyday life stressors forces people to resort to psycho- logical defense mechanisms. In the case of Obese Persons, these include oral regression (“neonatal regression”) and somatization, together with repression and denial. The latter components are part of the so-called Lifestyle Defense Mechanisms, studied by Grossarth-Maticek (1980). In the rigorous revision and classification carried out by Spielberger (1988) and Spielberger & Reheiser (2000, 2009), these factors were defined as “Need for Harmony” (N/H) and “Rationality/Emotional Defen- siveness” (R/ED). In order to develop further appropriate indications, more than seven hundred Italian adults were examined by also recording the Body Mass Index (BMI) and using some evalua- tion tools, including the LDM Inventory. Significantly higher N/H scores were found in Obese Per- sons when compared with Overweight, Normal weight and Underweight ones. Other personological differences included significantly higher frequencies of the Type B Behaviour Pattern and higher average levels of Hyperphagic tendencies among the obese people. A development of this study in- volved more than one thousand participants and provided a confirmation of the influence of these defence mechanisms and personality structures as co-factors in determining obesity.
Biasci, V., Bonaiuto, P. (2014). Negative Emotions and Defence Mechanisms in Obese People. PSYCHOLOGY, 5, 1979-1988 [10.4236/psych.2014.518201.].