Clarifying the Temporal Relationship between Dependent Personality Disorder and Anxiety Disorders


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Abstract

The relationship between dependent personality disorder (DPD) and several of the anxiety disorders is explored. Recent meta-analytic findings (this issue) suggest that DPD is comorbid with social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder but not with the other anxiety disorders. Examination of comorbidity rates clarifies the relationship between DPD and specific anxiety disorders, but this method does not address many of the important questions concerning this relationship. It remains unclear whether DPD is associated with an increased risk for developing an anxiety disorder or whether anxiety disorders increase the risk of developing DPD. Additionally, if DPD does serve as a risk factor for the development of anxiety disorders, it is unclear whether this risk is clinically meaningful. Finally, causal mechanisms leading from DPD to anxiety disorder have not been examined and warrant future investigation. Examination of comorbidity rates between DPD and the anxiety disorders does not address many clinically relevant issues surrounding the DPD-anxiety relationship, but it does highlight important directions for future research.

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