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Lowyck, B. Luyten, P. Demyttenaere, K. Corveleyn, J. (2009). Dependency as a Resilience Factor for Relationship Satisfaction when Confronted with Interpersonal Stress: A One-Year Prospective Study in the Community. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 57(2):418-423.

(2009). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 57(2):418-423

Dependency as a Resilience Factor for Relationship Satisfaction when Confronted with Interpersonal Stress: A One-Year Prospective Study in the Community

Benedicte Lowyck, Patrick Luyten, Koen Demyttenaere and Jozef Corveleyn

According to Blatt (2004), dependent individuals have the tendency to seek close and protecting relationships, while neglecting the development of a stable and essentially positive sense of self; they also possess strong needs to be loved and cared for, and fear abandonment and loss of love. While dependency has in the main been studied as a vulnerability factor for depression, particularly in interaction with negative interpersonal life events (e.g., divorce), recent work has underscored the role of dependency in close relationships (Luyten 2006; Luyten, Corveleyn, and Blatt 2005). In this context, studies have shown that dependent individuals have strong needs for immediate visual contact with others, which may result in a “claiming” interpersonal style (Luyten, Corveleyn, and Blatt 2005). At the same time, however, dependent individuals are more open, report fewer problems with intimacy, and ask more often for help and guidance (Bornstein 1992). Despite these findings of the effect of dependency on close relationships, until today most empirical studies have failed to find a significant main effect of dependency on couple relationships (e.g., Dimitrovsky, Levy-Sniff, and Schattner-Zanany 2002; Lynch, Robins, and Morse 2001).

Aim of the Study

The main aim of this study was to further investigate the role of dependency on couple relationships by examining its interaction with specific interpersonal stressors (e.g., conflicts in relationships). One reason previous studies have not found a significant effect of dependency on satisfaction in couple relationships may be that dependency has only indirect effects on relationship satisfaction (i.

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