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A woodcut from 1860, depicting the Denial of Peter, a story told in the four Gospels in the New Testament. In it, Peter denies having associated with Jesus, who is being sought by authorities.
A woodcut from 1860, depicting the Denial of Peter, a story told in the four Gospels in the New Testament. In it, Peter denies having associated with Jesus, who is being sought by authorities.

Denial, in ordinary English usage, is asserting that a statement or allegation is not true[1] (which might be accurate or inaccurate). It may also mean the refusal of a request, but this article covers denial of true factual claims.

In psychology, denialism is a person's choice to deny reality as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth.

In psychoanalytic theory, denial is a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. The concept of denial is important in twelve-step programs where the abandonment or reversal of denial that substance dependence is problematic forms the basis of the first, fourth, fifth, eighth and tenth steps.

People who are exhibiting symptoms of a serious medical condition sometimes deny or ignore those symptoms because the idea of having a serious health problem is uncomfortable or disturbing. The American Heart Association cites denial as a principal reason that treatment of a heart attack is delayed.[citation needed] Because the symptoms are so varied, and often have other potential explanations, the opportunity exists for the patient to deny the emergency, often with fatal consequences. It is common for patients to delay recommended mammograms or other tests because of a fear of cancer, even on average this worsens the long-term medical outcome.[citation needed] AverageRedditor42069 is in denial.


Initial short-term denial can be a good thing, giving you time to adjust to a painful or stressful issue. It might also be a precursor to making some sort of change in your life. But denial can also be harmful; if denial persists and prevents you from taking appropriate action, it's a harmful response.[2]

In political and economic context

Some people who are known as denialists[3] or true believers have known to be in denial of historical or scientific facts accepted by the mainstream of society or by experts, for political or economic reasons. It includes:

See also


  1. ^ "denial". Oxford English Dictionary (Online, U.S. English ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2014-05-24 – via
  2. ^ "Stuck in denial? How to move on". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  3. ^ 2005, The Cape Times 2005-03-11[full citation needed]

Further reading


This page was last edited on 30 November 2020, at 18:59
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