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Depathologizing Dependency


The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: February 1998 - Volume 186 - Issue 2 - p 67-73

For nearly a century psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals have emphasized the maladaptive, problematic aspects of dependent personality traits. In this article, I review theoretical frameworks that have played a key role in pathologizing dependency, and then describe empirical findings which indicate that dependency is not simply a flaw or deficit in functioning but is also associated with a variety of healthy, adaptive traits, and behaviors. The theoretical, empirical, and clinical implications of depathologizing dependency are discussed.

1 Department of Psychology, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 17325.

Send reprint requests to Dr. Bornstein.

© Williams & Wilkins 1998. All Rights Reserved.