Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent Personality Disorder is a personality disorder characterized by clingy and submissive behavior. Individuals are passive and allow others to direct their lives because they are unable to do so themselves. Other people such as spouses or parents make all the major life decisions, including where to live and what type of employment to obtain. These patients fear separation and tend to be indecisive and unable to take the initiative. They are often preoccupied with the thought of being left to fend for themselves, and want others to assume responsibility for all major decision making. They have difficulty expressing disagreement because they fear abandonment.

Risk Factors

A pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by 5 (or more) of the following:

  1. Has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others
  2. Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life
  3. Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval (Note: Do not include realistic fears of retribution.)
  4. Has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on his or her own (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy)
  5. Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant
  6. Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself or herself
  7. Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends
  8. Is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of himself or herself

Episode Specifier

Severity Specifier

Specify if:

Personality Disorder Guidelines

Guideline Location Year PDF Website
World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) International 2009 - Link