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date: 29 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Dependent personality disorder (DPD) diagnostic criteria have evolved considerably during the past 60 years, and researchers continue to explore the etiology and dynamics of problematic dependency in children, adolescents, and adults. This chapter reviews theoretical, clinical, and empirical writings on trait dependency and DPD. After tracing the evolution of DPD in successive editions of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), I discuss epidemiology, differential diagnosis, and comorbidity. Following a brief review of widely used assessment tools, influential theoretical frameworks for conceptualizing dependency and DPD are examined, along with research relevant to each framework. Three contemporary DPD treatment approaches (psychodynamic, behavioral, and cognitive) are described, and current trends in dependency research are discussed. These include exploration of the factors that underlie gender differences in DPD, maladaptive and adaptive expressions of dependency, dependency and aging, implicit and self-attributed dependency, health consequences of dependency, the dependency-attachment relationship, and DPD in the DSM-5.

Keywords: dependent personality disorder, interpersonal dependency, Axis II, personality pathology, diagnosis, assessment, adaptive dependency

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