Self-destructiveness in adolescence

American Journal of Psychotherapy
J D Noshpitz


This study is an attempt to formulate the dynamics of the group of adolescents involved in major drug use and other antisocial behavior. As consultant to a drug rehabilitation center for teenagers, the author has had occasion to interview and evaluate a large number of youths whose lives had taken such a turn. Certain aspects of the life style and behavior patterns of these young people show striking similarities. In particular, their behavior evidences the presence of a central self-destructive moiety which can be likened to a negative ego ideal; this acts to shape and to direct their lives. This element in the character structure of these patients is described in clinical and theoretical (developmental) terms, with special address to: a chronic low-grade sense of inner malaise, a tendency to self-blame for whatever goes wrong for family and close friends, feelings of alienation from the larger society around them, behavioral provocativeness in the service of seeking the relief that punishment brings, recurrent gestures of self-mutilation, frequent involvement with cults of devil worship, a record of multiple antisocial acts punctuated by numerous arrests, and repeated suicidal gestures and attempts. The origins of the negativ...Continue Reading


Apr 22, 2008·Development and Psychopathology·Tuppett M YatesByron Egeland
Jan 1, 1996·The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child·R A King, A Apter
Dec 1, 1996·Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health·C A Smith
Sep 19, 1998·Clinical Psychology Review·K L Suyemoto

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