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Sociotropy—Autonomy and Other Personality Measures

Sociotropy and autonomy have been examined in relation to measures in personality psychology, such as the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI; Costa & McCrae, 1985) and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ; Eysenck & Eysenck, 1975). Sociotropy appears related to other measures of theoretically congruent constructs like dependency, lack of assertion, and introversion (Cappeliez, 1993; Gilbert & Reynolds, 1990; Haaga, Fine, Terril, Stewart, & Beck 1995; Moore & Blackburn, 1994; Robins, Block, & Peselow, 1989; Robins et al., 1995).

Autonomy appears less strongly related to other measures of pathology, although it is correlated with the theoretically consistent constructs of conscientiousness and extraversion (Cappeliez, 1993; Gilbert & Reynolds, 1990). Gilbert and Reynolds (1990) hypothesized that sociotropy, with its links to depression and neuroticism, may be a more sensitive measure of psychopathology than is autonomy. Sociotropy and autonomy are complex constructs, each with adaptive and maladaptive aspects. It has been argued that sociotropy may tap into pathological aspects of dependency, but also into a general interpersonal orientation (Rude & Burnham, 1995). Pincus and Gurtman (1995) found that each subscale of sociotropy represents a distinct combination of warmth and dominance, refl ecting a range of aspects of dependency.

The authors point out that certain types of interpersonal loss would be associated with one aspect of sociotropy, but not another. Although autonomy has positively correlated with conscientiousness, some hypothesize that it may be conceptually related to impulsivity (Gilbert & Reynolds, 1990) and perfectionism (Fresco , Sampson, Craighead, & Koons, 2001). Thus, the complexity of these constructs points to their dimensional nature and to the diffi culties inherent in predictive and criterion studies (Bieling et al., 1998).

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