DefinitionA person with a passive-aggressive behavior pattern may appear to comply or act appropriately, but actually behaves negatively and passively resists. In the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, passive-aggressiveness is not officially characterized as a personality disorder. Instead, passive-aggressiveness is labeled as an area that needs further study.
CausesThe cause of passive-aggressiveness is unknown. There may be environmental and genetic factors that contribute to the development of this behavior pattern.
|This part of the brain is believed to control our ability to act in a way that is socially appropriate. Biological changes to this area may contribute to behavior patterns.|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Risk FactorsFactors that may increase your risk of passive-aggressive behavior include:
- Childhood abuse or neglect
- Harsh punishment
SymptomsPassive-aggressive behavior includes:
- Contradictory and inconsistent behavior—A person with this behavior pattern may appear enthusiastic to carry out others’ requests, but purposely performs in a manner that is not useful and sometimes even damaging.
- Intentional avoidance of responsibility—Some behaviors that may be used to avoid responsibility include:
- Procrastination—to delay or postpone needlessly and intentionally
- Deliberate inefficiency—purposefully performing in an incompetent manner
- Feelings of resentment toward others
- Argumentative, sulky, and hostile, especially toward authority figures
- Easily offended
- Resentful of useful suggestions from others
- Blames others
- Chronically impatient
- Unexpressed anger or hostility
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