Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Kevin Meehan

Committee Chair and Members

Kevin Meehan, Chair

Sara Haden

Marie Brown


Circumplex, Codependency, Dyads, Interpersonal, IPC, Ostracism


Codependency has been a relevant psychological construct since the 1980s that has been mostly understood in terms of personality characteristics. However, there is a dearth of research that critically examines the interpersonal constructs that comprise the experience of codependency, particularly in applying well-established statistical procedures and experimental designs. The current study sought to bridge this gap by mapping codependency on the interpersonal circumplex (IPC) and measuring how codependency moderated momentary changes in interpersonal perceptions. A sample of undergraduates and adults from the community (N = 178) were recruited as dyads and asked to complete self-report measures on interpersonal difficulties and participate in pairs to play Cyberball, a virtual ball-toss simulating ostracism. Findings showed that high codependency was generally associated with problems related to unassuredness and exploitability on the IPC. Men high in codependency reported greater interpersonal distress around coldness/aloofness while women high in codependency reported greater interpersonal distress around having their nurturance exploited. After playing Cyberball, participants perceived themselves as more dominant when they also perceived their partner as more dominant. Codependency was found to significantly increase this relationship; participants higher in codependency were even more likely to perceive themselves as more dominant than usual as they perceived their partner as more dominant than usual. Taken together, these findings offer a more nuanced picture of codependency in terms of general perceptions of interpersonal difficulties and momentary perceptions of self and other. Limitations and future directions are further discussed.

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