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Main page / "Knowledge. Understanding. Skill" Journal / Contents / 2014 / No. 4

Artemtseva N. G., Galkina T. V. Codependence as a Possible Threat for a Subjects Psychological Health

(Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Moscow University for the Humanities)

Abstract ♦ The article presents the outcomes of our study of some novel and very topical issues in psychological security, defining and describing some typical features of psychological health in its connection with behavioral patterns. Considerable attention is paid to examining the codependence phenomenon as a possible threat for a subject’s psychological health. It is important to emphasize that psychological health and codependence are complex systemic formations and their adequate study requires the use of the basic principles of system approach.

Codependence is defined as behavior motivated by a dependence on the significant other. The article shows that codependence has a more general character than most researchers tend to think. In rapidly changing modern society all persons find themselves in some way co-dependent on somebody: their loved ones, relatives, children, clients, superiors, the media, advertising, etc. A codependent person often forgets that he/she is in contact with another human being and perceives their joy and misery as his/her own, as if forgetting about oneself. As a result, codependent people lose their selves and their picture of real life becomes distorted.

Understanding the causes of codependent relations and being able to prevent their rise in one’s own life are the factors that make the study of the codependence mechanism particularly urgent. Setting oneself free from codependent behavior patterns leads to psychological health.

We have examined various approaches to defining psychological health. The study has shown that the features of a codependence-free subject and the criteria of psychological health largely overlap. Indeed, internal harmony, consolidation, emotional balance and adequacy are both extremely important components of psychological health and the features of a codependence-free person.

Codependence is hard to reflect on, but recognizing and admitting this condition in oneself is the first step towards getting rid of it and achieving psychological health.

The article summarizes the new material on the subject and argues for a detailed study and further experimental investigations of the problem of codependence as a threat for a subject’s psychological health.

Keywords: system approach, psychological health, codependence, awareness, subject, spirituality, adequacy, significant other, healing, psychological security.

Artemtseva Natalia Georgievna, Candidate of Psychology, Research Associate, Laboratory of Cognitive Processes and Mathematical Psychology, Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Postal address: 13 Yaroslavskaya St., Moscow, Russian Federation, 129366. Tel.: +7 (495) 682-05-22. E-mail:

Galkina Tatiana Viktorovna, Candidate of Psychology, Senior Research Associate, Laboratory of Psychology of the Personality, Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Associate Professor, Department of General Psychology, Moscow University for the Humanities. Postal address: 13 Yaroslavskaya St., Moscow, Russian Federation, 129366. Tel: +7 (495) 683-53-40. E-mail:


Citation: Artemtseva, N. G. and Galkina, T. V. (2014) Sozavisimost' kak vozmozhnaia ugroza psikhologicheskomu zdorov'iu sub"ekta [Codependence as a possible threat for a subject’s psychological health]. Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie, no. 4, pp. 213–220. (In Russ.).

Submission date: 30.08.2014.



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