Object relations in adolescence: A comparison of normal and inpatient adolescents

Hideko Sekiya, Atsushi Sato, Yoshie Sakai, Yasushi Naka, Keiko Suzuki, Haruo Kashima, Masaru Mimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: We aimed to study the development of object relations in adolescents and their correlation with their mothers' defense styles in inpatient and normal adolescents. Methods: We administered the Thematic Apperception Test to adolescents in the adolescent unit (junior high, n = 16; senior high, n = 22) and normal controls (junior high, n = 16; senior high, n = 16). Results were analyzed using the Complexity of Representations Scale (CRS). We administered the Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ 40) to the subjects' mothers (patients, n = 38; controls, n = 32) to determine whether adolescents' CRS scores correlated with mothers' DSQ scores. Results: There was a nearly significant interaction for group-by-school-year for the children's CRS scores. In the control group, senior high school students' scores (mean [SD] = 3.52 [0.49]) were significantly higher (F [1,66] = 12.3, P = 0.001) than those of junior high school students' (mean [SD] = 3.03 [0.31]). In the patient group, no significant difference was observed between senior high and junior high. For mothers' DSQ 40, mature defense scores were significantly higher in the control group than in the patient group (mean [SD] = 10.8 [1.89] vs 9.35 [1.40] in junior high, and 11.8 [1.67] vs 9.36 [1.81] in senior high, F [1,66] = 22.1, P < 0.001, two-way anova). A significant, positive correlation (r = 0.37, P = 0.04) was observed between the mothers' mature defense and the children's CRS scores in the control group only. Conclusions: Whatever diagnoses are provided, the problems of adolescents with non-psychotic pathologies are related to the arrest of object relations development. A patient's mother cannot employ mature mechanisms to alleviate signals of anxiety sent by her child.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-275
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun


  • Thematic Apperception Test
  • adolescent development
  • defense
  • inpatient treatment
  • object relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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