An alternative perspective to the clinical model of codependency is that codependency is contextual and reflects inequality within a relationship. This study examined whether the evaluation of codependent behavior depends on the context of the relationship, i.e., the reciprocity of the person’s partner, and the gender of the stimulus person (SP). College students (N=302, 46% non-Caucasian) read one of six scenarios in which the codependent SP’s behavior was held constant but the reciprocity of the partner and the gender of the SP were varied. The stimulus person and her/his relationship were rated significantly more healthy in the reciprocal condition than in the nonreciprocal or control conditions, but a better partner in the nonreciprocal condition. Codependent female SPs were judged less healthy but better partners than codependent male SPs. Judgments of codependent behavior and persons are contextual in nature, may reflect inequality within relationships, and to some extent, depend upon the gender of the codependent person.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 24, 2007
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