- dependence, dependencyThe state of being connected to and subordinate to someone or something. The opposite of self-reliance, this term may be encountered in a variety of sociological contexts. In the study of economic growth and the sociology of development , it describes a situation in which the less developed countries (LDCs) literally depend on inputs from the advanced industrial states, in order to achieve growth. This can take the form of financial and technical aid, expertise, or military support. Dependency is judged by so-called dependency theorists and others to be a limiting condition which is detrimental to the long-term economic and political interests of Third World states. In a medical context, the term is synonymous with addiction, the most common forms of dependency being associated with drug addiction and alcoholism (see drinking and alcoholism ). Individuals are sometimes described as being emotionally dependent, financially dependent, or politically dependent on others. Much research has also been done on the social consequences for relationships between the sexes of the financial dependence of many married women on their husbands (especially if the former are not involved in paid employment). See also compadrazgo ; patron-client relationship ; dependent variable.
Dictionary of sociology. 2013.