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Psychological dependence

My preoccupation with the concept of psychological dependence began when I read of the possible association of adult dependence and early parent death. My inclusion of the Navran Dependency Scale of the MMPI in the study of early loss and separation in 40-49 year old women was due to this. When I discovered the large number of depressive items in the Navran scale (Birtchnell & Kennard, 1983) I began to speculate about the overlap between dependence and depression (Birtchnell, Deahl & Falkowski, 1991) and to consider that dependence might be a possible precursor to depression (Birtchnell, 1984) or a complication in the treatment of depression (Birtchnell, 1987a). I wondered what dependence was, how it might be measured (Birtchnell, 1988, 1991a and b) and how it might be treated (Birtchnell & Borgherini, 2000). Dependence was one component of the Self-Rating Questionnaire and Partner-Rating Questionnaire used in the study of 25-34 year old women. It was the realisation that dependence had a closeness-seeking component and an upwardly directed component that led to the biaxial classification of relating (Birtchnell, 1987b), that was the forerunner to relating theory (See section on Relating Theory ). The idea that there is both a beneficial and a pathological form of dependence (Birtchnell, 1991b) led to the idea that there are positive and negative forms of relating.



Birtchnell, J. (1984) Dependence and its relationship to depression. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 57, 215‑225.

Birtchnell, J. (1987a) The management and resolution of dependency in the depressed patient. Directions in Psychiatry, 7, Lesson 15, 1‑7. Updated 1994.

Birtchnell, J. (1987b) Attachment‑detachment, directiveness‑receptiveness: A system for classifying interpersonal attitudes and behaviour. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 60, 17‑27.

Birtchnell, J. (1988) Defining dependence. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 61, 111‑123.

Birtchnell, J. (1991a) The measurement of dependence by questionnaire. Journal of Personality Disorders, 5, 281-295.

Birtchnell, J. (1991b) Redefining dependence: A reply to Cadbury's critique. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 64, 253-261.

Birtchnell, J. & Borgherini, S. (2000) Interpersonal theory and treatment of dependent personality disorder. Maffei, C. (Ed.) Treatment of Personality Disorders. Plenum Press: New York.

Birtchnell, J., Deahl, M. & Falkowski, J. (1991) Further exploration of the relationship between depression and dependence. Journal of Affective Disorders, 22, 221-233.

Birtchnell, J. & Kennard, J. (1983) What does the dependency Scale of the MMPI really measure? Journal of Clinical Psychology, 39, 532‑543.