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Bornstein, R.F. (1996). Beyond Orality: Toward an Object Relations/Interactionist Reconceptualization of the Etiology and Dynamics of Dependency. Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(2):177-203.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(2):177-203

Beyond Orality: Toward an Object Relations/Interactionist Reconceptualization of the Etiology and Dynamics of Dependency

Robert F. Bornstein, Ph.D.

Although the classical psychoanalytic model of dependency contends that dependent personality traits are rooted in infantile feeding and weaning experiences and should be associated with various oral behaviors, empirical evidence supporting these assertions is weak. In this article I (a) review the empirical literature testing three key hypotheses regarding the dependencyorality relation, (b) briefly review extant object relations models of dependency, and (c) describe an integrated object relations/interactionist model of dependency that accounts for the entire range of behaviors exhibited by the dependent person but does not invoke the concept of orality to explain dependency-related personality dynamics. Evidence supporting the object relations/interactionist model is reviewed, and the clinical implications of this model are discussed.

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