In the psychological sense, denial is a defense mechanism in which a person, faced with a painful fact, rejects the reality of that fact. They will insist that the fact is not true despite what may be overwhelming and irrefutable evidence.
There are three forms of denial. Simple denial is when the painful fact is denied altogether. Minimisational denial is when the painful fact is admitted but its seriousness is downplayed. Transference denial is when the painful fact is admitted, the seriousness also admitted, but one’s moral responsibility in the situation involving the painful fact is downplayed.
When a person is in denial, they engage in distractive or escapist strategies to reduce stress and help them cope. The effect upon psychological well-being in doing this is unclear.