The Dependent Personality  book cover
1st Edition

The Dependent Personality

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ISBN 9780898629910
Published June 30, 1993 by Guilford Press
241 Pages

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Book Description

Over the past few decades, developmental, social, and clinical research has generated a wealth of information regarding the etiology and dynamics of dependent personality traits in children, adolescents, and adults. Integrating the work from these disciplines for the first time, this volume fills a significant gap in the literature by presenting a comprehensive and detailed review of what is known about the antecedents, correlates, and consequences of dependency.

The volume opens with a review of theoretical frameworks that have influenced previous research on dependency. An overview and critique of commonly used assessment techniques contrasts the strengths and weaknesses of objective, projective, behavioral and interview-based dependency scales. Chapters covering etiology deal with the development of dependency at various stages of the life cycle and allow for comparison of the predictive validities of two important theoretical frameworks: the psychoanalytic and social learning models. Social and interpersonal consequences are considered, with attention to both the person's behavior and its effect on others. The chapter on psychopathological dependency thoroughly covers the enormous amount of research on this subject. Dependent personality disorder is next addressed, as well as the relationship of dependency to risk for physical disorders, followed by a discussion of dependent individuals as psychiatric and medical patients. In the concluding chapter, Bornstein presents a new theoretical model, expanding on the traditional view of dependency as a deficit to encompass the positive, adaptive qualities of dependent individuals as well.

This book will be of value to both academic and clinical readers. Incisive reviews of personality development as well as social cognition and behavior will appeal to social, personality, and developmental psychologists, while clinical researchers will be particularly interested in Bornstein's discussion of the etiology and psychodynamics of psychopathology. Because dependency is so tightly linked to transference and countertransference issues, the dynamics of the supervisory relationship, psychological processes associated with psychiatric hospitalization and discharge, and psychotherapy initiation and termination, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, and other mental health practitioners will benefit from the book's accessible review of empirical findings concerning the dependent personality.

Table of Contents

1. Dependency in Context: Conceptual and Theoretical Frameworks

Theoretical Models of Dependency

The Psychoanalytic and Social Learning Models of Dependency: A Comparison

Domains of Dependency Research

Defining Dependency

2. Assessing Dependency

Objective and Projective Dependency Measures

Interview and Rating Measures

Psychometric Issues

3. The Development of Dependency

The Epigenesis of Dependency

Evaluating the Psychoanalytic and Social Learning Models with Respect to the Etiology of Dependency

Dependency, Gender, and Sex Role

4. Interpersonal Correlates of Dependency

Dependency, Suggestibility, Yielding, and Compliance

Dependency, Help Seeking, Interpersonal Sensitivity, and Affiliation

Dependency, Evaluation, and Performance Anxiety

5. Dependency as a Social Cue

Dependency and Sociometric Status

Dependency and Helping

Dependency and Abusive Behavior

6. Dependency and Psychopathology

Dependency and Depression

Dependency and Phobias

Dependency and Alcoholism

Dependency and Smoking

Dependency and Substance Use Disorders

Dependency, Obesity, and Eating Disorders

Disentangling the Dependency Psychopathology Relationship

7. Dependent Personality Disorder

The Construct Validity of the DPD Symptom Criteria

The Prevalence of DPD

Sex Differences in DPD

8. Dependency and Physical Disorders

The Dependency Disease Link: Historical Roots

The Dependency Disease Link: Empirical Evidence

Some Possible Mechanisms Underlying the Dependency Disease Relationship

9. Dependency and Parenthood

Dependency and Help Seeking in Clinical Settings

Dependency and Treatment Compliance

Dependency, Perceptions of the Psychotherapist, and Psychotherapy Preference

10. The Dependent Personality: Toward an Integrated Theoretical Model

Toward an Integrated Theoretical Model of Dependency

The Future of Dependency Research

A Final Comment


Author Index

Subject Index

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Robert F. Bornstein received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1986. He is currently Associate Professor of Psychology at Gettysburg College. Dr. Bornstein has published numerous articles on perception without awareness, as well as on the antecedents, dynamics, and correlates of dependent personality traits. He is the author of The Dependent Personality, a comprehensive review of the empirical literature on dependency, which will be published by Guilford Press in 1993.**


An admirably comprehensive, probing, and clear review of the research literature on individual differences in dependency. Besides demonstrating that the literature is surprisingly coherent and that it converges on important insights into human social behavior, Bornstein's thoughtful review of more than 700 sources proves that behavioral science research can, in the right hands, be made to yield conclusions of deep and lasting significance. The book will be of great interest and value to personality theorists, researchers, methodologists, and clinicians. --Phillip R. Shaver, Ph.D., University of California, Davis

Wonderfully clear, integrative and critical research review from diverse fields of psychology. Integrates findings with theory. Should be valuable to anyone interested in this important dimension of personality. I gained renewed appreciation of the dependent personality, and I'm sure other researchers and clinicians, as well as their graduate students, will find this book of value. --Harold Cook, Ph.D., Teachers College, Columbia University; President of the Psychoanalytic Research Society

A landmark integration of extensive theoretical, clinical and research literature on the etiology and development, as well as the clinical, social, and interpersonal consequences of dependency. A major contribution demonstrating how the concept of personality or character style offers an integrative theoretical structure for linking normal and pathological psychological development. --Sidney J. Blatt, Ph.D., Yale University
This book makes a substantial contribution to understanding dependency. The author synthesizes a huge research literature and distills the primary conceptual threads into an integrated theoretical model.
--Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 5/2/1993ƒƒ
This book provides an authoritative and comprehensive overview of dependency. It is a well-balanced combination of the theoretical and research findings pertaining to the dependent a highly recommended as an excellent overview of the vast dependency literature.
--The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 5/2/1993