Codependency and Pathological Altruism

PATHOLOGICAL ALTRUISM, B. Oakley, A. Knafo, G. Madhavan & D. S. Wilson, eds., New York: Oxford University Press, 2011

26 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2011

Date Written: December 7, 2011

Abstract

Pathological altruism is a construct describing the willingness of an individual to place the needs of others above him- or herself to the point of causing harm, whether physical, psychological, or both, to the purported altruist. Codependency can be viewed as a form of pathological altruism. The study of codependency has been hampered by limited agreement as to what it is, whether it even exists, and a lack of validated psychometric instruments to study it. This chapter suggests codependency is best viewed as a behavior and not a diagnosis, facilitated by the inability to tolerate negative affect. This chapter will review the concept of codependency, comment on its roots in empathy and altruism, explore its potential neurobiological, genetic and evolutionary basis, and make suggestions for future research.

Keywords: codependency, evolutionary, negative affect, neurobiological, pathological altruism

Suggested Citation

McGrath, Michael G. and Oakley, Barbara Ann, Codependency and Pathological Altruism (December 7, 2011). PATHOLOGICAL ALTRUISM, B. Oakley, A. Knafo, G. Madhavan & D. S. Wilson, eds., New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1969627

Michael G. McGrath

Unity Health System ( email )

81 Lake Avenue
Rochester, NY 14608

Barbara Ann Oakley (Contact Author)

Oakland University ( email )

Rochester, MI 48309-4401
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www2.oakland.edu/users/oakley

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