The psychoanalytical theory that as a defense mechanism, an individual will respond to unacceptable or threatening unconscious impulses by exhibiting (in their conscious actions) the opposite. For example, a subject vulnerable to abhorrent sexual desire may preach against such practices in the community.

REACTION FORMATION: "Reaction formation may explain why a parent who unconsciously does not care deeply for a child will smother that child with toys and attention."
Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "REACTION FORMATION," in, April 28, 2013, (accessed September 19, 2021).