Passive people active in pursuing authority

Last Updated: May 04, 2011, 15:49 PM IST

Washington: Thinking of a dependent person conjures visions of someone who`s needy, passive and demanding. But dependency is lot more complex and can even have active, positive aspects.

Robert Bornstein of Adelphi University, New York, believes dependency often comes from growing up with overprotective or authoritarian parents. So they decide "the way to get by in life is to find someone strong and never let go", the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science reports.

"My understanding... is that the core of a dependent personality is a perception of one`s self as helpless, vulnerable, and weak," said Bornstein, who authored the study.

That means they want to impress authority figures who might help or protect them later; they also want to maintain relationships at all cost, according to an Adelphi statement.

"If you`re a non-dependent person, the general feeling is, `well, I`ll have to figure it out on my own`," Bornstein says.

"Dependent students, who are predisposed to seek help from an authority figure, will go to a professor and ask for help," Bornstein adds.

IANS