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  1. Myriam Mongrain

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0259

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Mongrain, M. 2010. Dependency. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. York University, Toronto, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


All human beings depend on others: at first for survival and later, for support and companionship. The need to belong and be supported is one of the most basic needs. Some individuals may manifest a more extreme need for support and be intensely preoccupied with obtaining care or being close to their significant other. Dependency refers to a core motivation to obtain and maintain nurturing and supportive relationships (cited in Pincus & Wilson, 2001), and it involves a range of traits that can be either adaptive (e.g., valuing relationships) or maladaptive (e.g., people pleasing or passivity). This personality style is often associated with emotional difficulties and maladaptive relationships (see Bornstein, 2005) and, as a result, has received a great amount of attention from clinicians. Dependent personality disorder is a recognized diagnosis in the DSM-IV. It is important to note that this diagnosis is applied only when the dependent individual's submissiveness, need to be taken care of, and fears of separation interfere with her or his functioning and cause significant distress.


  • immature dependence;
  • dependent personality disorder;
  • major depressive disorder;
  • interpersonal dependency