Construct validity of Cermak's Codependent Personality Disorder, utilizing a nomological net

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Herbert Dandes, Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Margaret Crosbie-Burnett, Committee Member


The construct validity of Timmen Cermak M.D.'S (1986c) DSM-III-style Codependent Personality Disorder criteria was tested by hypothesizing the direction "diagnosed" participants would score on questionnaires. Seventeen subscales of eleven questionnaires were administered to 201 participants (75% from residential drug treatment centers), who were divided into two groups: Codependent (meeting the Codependent Personality Disorder criteria) and Noncodependent (not meeting the criteria). Comparison of the group mean scores across the 17 subscales failed to support construct validity based on the Nomological Net (Cronbach & Meehl, 1955), where these subscale mean scores were originally hypothesized to be positively-, negatively-, or zero-correlated to the criteria. All 17 subscales exhibited no statistically significant differences between the two groups. Also, similar levels of parental and/or partner involvement with alcohol and drugs for both groups also argue against the transgenerational component of codependency.


Health Sciences, Mental Health; Education, Guidance and Counseling; Psychology, Clinical; Psychology, Personality; Psychology, Psychometrics

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