This study investigates the associations between cognitive coping (as measured with the Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire; CERQ), defense mechanisms (as measured with the Defense Style Questionnaire- 60; DSQ-60) and personality disorders (PDs; as measured with the SIDP-IV interview) in a large sample of patients with PDs (n = 1,435). Explorative factor analyses indicated that the nine CERQ subscales can be clustered into three higher-order factors (adaptive coping, nonadaptive coping and external attribution style). When compared to a general population sample, the PD sample particularly scored higher on nonadaptive coping styles. A higher number of PDs was related to a particularly higher level of nonadaptive coping and less mature defensive functioning, but also to lower levels of adaptive coping and external attribution. This study is the first to suggest that three higher-order coping styles can be identified among PD patients, and that these coping styles are related to the presence and number of PDs.