Dependent Personality Disorder

1220 WordsJun 1, 20025 Pages
A Psychological Aspect of Susan Smith: Dependent Personality Disorder On October 25, 1994, Susan Smith drowned her two sons, Michael and Alex, in the John D. Long Lake in Union County, South Carolina. For nine days she lied about knowing where the boys were. On November 3, she confessed to the killings and would soon go to trial. Susan's defense team hired a psychiatrist to conduct a psychiatric evaluation of her. She was diagnosed as having dependent personality disorder. He described her as a person who "feels she can't do anything on her own". "She constantly needs affection and becomes terrified that she'll be left alone" She was only depressed when she was alone. The psychiatrist studied her family history and concluded that based…show more content…
(American Psychiatric Association, 1994) DPD is classified as a Cluster C personality disorder in the DSM-IV. Cluster C personality disorder is described as anxious or fearful. Females are more likely than males to have a Cluster C personality disorder (Joseph Rey, 1996). Childhood illness or separation anxiety disorder of childhood may be a premorbid condition to DPD. Some experts believe that events occurring in early childhood exert a powerful influence upon behavior later in life. Others indicate that people are genetically predisposed to personality disorders. In some cases, however, environmental factors may cause a person who is already genetically vulnerable to develop a personality disorder (National Mental Health Association). What is the link between parental over protectiveness and authoritarianism and the development of dependent personality traits in children? Parental over protectiveness and authoritarianism serve simultaneously to 1) reinforce dependent behaviors in children of both sexes and 2) prevent the child from developing independent, autonomous behaviors (since the parents do not permit the child to engage in the kinds of trial-and-error learning that are involved in developing a sense of independence and mastery during childhood). Thus, when
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