Crying in Context: Understanding Associations With Interpersonal Dependency and Social Support


  • Katherine L. Fiori
  • Nathan S. Consedine
  • Christy A. Denckla
  • A.J.J.M. Vingerhoets


This study examines the associations among interpersonal dependency, social support, and crying proneness, since crying is a behavior that is particularly relevant to the affiliative interpersonal goals characterizing maladaptive forms of dependency (Keltner & Kring, 1998). Data were collected from 305 first-year university students (M age = 18 years). A series of hierarchical linear regressions, controlling for gender, commuting status, romantic relationship status, stress, loneliness, and depressive symptoms, partially supported our hypotheses. That is, we found that a measure of maladaptive dependency (destructive overdependence, or DO) and crying proneness were positively correlated, and that DO moderated the associations between social support and crying proneness. Specifically, we found that social support and crying were more closely positively associated among individuals high on DO compared to individuals low on DO. Our findings imply that interpersonal dependency may be an important factor in understanding individual differences in crying, and in determining whether crying is a successful elicitor of social support.