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Sullivan's Interpersonal Theory

  1. Roger E. Enfield

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0964

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Enfield, R. E. 2010. Sullivan's Interpersonal Theory. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. West Central Georgia Regional Hospital, Columbus, GA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Interpersonal theory is a theory of interpersonal relations developed, largely in the 1930s and 1940s, by Harry Stack Sullivan, an American psychiatrist, who died before his major works were published. Interpersonal theory emphasizes the social nature of the human condition and defines psychiatry, personality, mental illness, and key assessment and treatment concepts in interpersonal rather than intrapsychic terms.


  • humanistic psychology;
  • personality theories;
  • psychotherapy;
  • social influence theory