Interpersonal variability in dependent personality

Aaron L. Pincus, Kelly R. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The interpersonal circumplex (IPC) was recommended as a personality trait dimensional model with good potential to identify the phenomenological scope of personality disorders whose core dysfunction involves maladaptive expression of interpersonal traits. The IPC was then applied to the reconceptualization of dependent personality and dependent personality disorder. In Study 1, Pincus and Gurtman's (1995) three interpersonal vectors of dependency were validated via factor analyses conducted on two large samples (N = 921; N = 472) and a reliable self-report measure, the 3 Vector Dependency Inventory (3VDI) was constructed. In Study 2, two samples (N = 103; N = 122) of individuals identified as predominantly endorsing submissive dependence, exploitable dependence, or love dependence, or who were low in aspects of dependency were compared via ANOVA and chi-square analyses on parental representations, adult attachment styles, loneliness, and pathological attachment. Submissive dependence was associated with higher scores on maladaptive constructs (fearful attachment, pathological attachment, and loneliness) and was also associated with lower parental affiliation and higher maternal control. Love dependence was associated with lower scores on maladaptive constructs and higher scores on secure attachment and parental affiliation. Variability in dependent phenomenology was related to its three component traits. Multiple perspectives on integrating love dependence, exploitable dependence, and submissive dependence into a reconceptualization of dependent personality disorder were articulated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-251
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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