Active dependency

J Nerv Ment Dis. 1995 Feb;183(2):64-77. doi: 10.1097/00005053-199502000-00002.


Although dependency has long been associated with passivity, weakness, and submissiveness, a review of the empirical literature reveals that, in certain situations and settings, dependent persons actually exhibit a variety of active, assertive behaviors. In this article, I: a) trace the historical roots of the dependency-passivity link; b) review empirical studies from developmental, social, and clinical psychology which indicate that, in certain circumstances, dependency is associated with active, assertive behavior on the part of the dependent person; c) offer an alternative conceptual model of dependency that accounts for the entire range of behaviors-both passive and active-that are exhibited by the dependent person; and d) discuss the diagnostic and therapeutic implications of this alternative conceptual model of dependency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Assertiveness
  • Child Development
  • Dependency, Psychological*
  • Dependent Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Dependent Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Object Attachment
  • Socialization
  • Terminology as Topic