Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Nursing


School of Nursing


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Heather McAlpine


Codependency is a complex dysfunctional behaviour pattern characterised by a dependence upon external reference points for ways of being. An abundance of nursing literature claims that codependency is (a) a problem among nurses, (b) related to the demands of the profession, and that (c) codependent nurses eventually suffer disillusionment and burnout. The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine the severity of codependent concerns among Western Australian registered nurses in order to direct a response to these claims. A random sample of 1000 West Australian registered nurses were mailed surveys with an option for them to respond anonymously by mail. A total of 590 returned surveys gave a response rate of 59%. Codependent concerns among subjects were measured using the Friel Codependency Assessment Inventory (CAl), a clinically based self-report tool. In addition, a demographic survey collected information regarding years of experience in nursing and current area of nursing practice in order to examine the relationships between these variables and severity levels of codependency. The mean severity rating for codependent concerns among subjects was mild to moderate according to Friel's CAl severity rating. One in three nurses reported moderate to severe or severe codependent concerns. Chi square, Pearson Correlation and ANOV A statistical analyses revealed no significant relationship between nursing practice variables and severity of codependent concerns. A post hoc factor analysis supported the construct validity of the CAl but did not support Friel's claim that this instrument covers specific areas of concern. The findings of this study suggest that codependency is problematic among West Australian registered nurses,-but that it is not related to years of experience in nursing or area of nursing practice. Further research is required to (a) describe the relationship, if any, between codependency and burnout among nurses, (b) refine the CAl as a more succinct measurement instrument, and (c) test the theoretical constructs of Friel and Friel’s conceptual mode, of codependency

Included in

Nursing Commons