Measuring codependents' close relationships: a preliminary study

J Subst Abuse. 1990;2(3):335-44. doi: 10.1016/s0899-3289(10)80005-7.


A survey of clinical literature and input from addiction counselors yielded eight commonly assumed characteristics of codependents' relationships. These were defined in a manner amenable to measurement by the Acquaintance Description Form (Wright, 1985), and added to the standard form to provide a codependent version (ADF-C2). Forty-one women and 19 men awaiting or beginning codependent counseling responded to the ADF-C2, and to Friel's Codependency Assessment Inventory and forms soliciting background information. Thirty-nine women and 30 men from the general population provided a comparison group. Although tentative, results were encouraging concerning progress toward measuring codependents' relationships. Broad profiles for both women and men supported the foundational observation that codependents maintain strong commitments to their partners notwithstanding stress and unrewardingness. Specifically, codependent women showed five expected characteristics: Control, Exaggerated Responsibility, Worth Dependency, Rescue Orientation, and Change Orientation. Codependent men showed two: Control and Exaggerated Responsibility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation
  • Codependency, Psychological*
  • Humans
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychotropic Drugs*
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation


  • Psychotropic Drugs