Evidence-Based Assessment of Interpersonal Dependency

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Abstract

Although evidence-based practice (EBP) has become as a central theme in contemporary clinical psychology, to date most writing on EBP has focused on intervention; when assessment is discussed it is typically with respect to facilitating diagnosis and treatment planning, or as a method for documenting treatment progress and outcome. This article describes an empirically grounded, clinically useful approach to evidence-based assessment of interpersonal dependency—the tendency to rely on other people for nurturance, guidance, protection, and support, even in situations where autonomous functioning is possible. We first describe current conceptualizations of interpersonal dependency, and the ways in which dependent personality traits impact clinical work; we then present the core elements of evidence-based assessment of interpersonal dependency, followed by a 4-step clinical framework for implementing these core elements. In addition to providing a practitioner- and patient-friendly framework for assessing a personality style that has noteworthy implications for clinical practice, evidence-based assessment of interpersonal dependency can serve as a model for evidence-based assessment of other clinically relevant personality traits and types (e.g., narcissism, aggressiveness, impulsivity).

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