The Dependent Personality and Interpersonal Problems


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Abstract

At the core of the dependent personality disorder lies an excessive reliance on other people for support, direction, and nurturance. However, because of their interpersonal style, many patients high in dependency have difficulties establishing and maintaining close interpersonal relationships. The present study examined interpersonal problems related to the dependent personality disorder. The relationships between dependency and interpersonal problems were examined in 43 adult psychiatric inpatients and 66 nonpatient adults. All subjects were assessed for social functioning in terms of social behaviors typically displayed, density of their social networks, and subjective feelings of loneliness. Using correlations and multiple regression analyses, results showed that dependency was closely related to social behavior and quality of social networks for both psychiatric inpatients and nonpatient controls. Pearson correlations showed the dependent personality style was related to negative and disruptive interpersonal behaviors. Also, measures of social functioning were related to feelings of loneliness and depression. Finally, interpersonal dependency was strongly related to both depressive symptoms and depressive attitudes, especially in the psychiatric inpatients. The present findings demonstrate the importance of interpersonal dependency as related to interpersonal problems.

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