A 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.
The cause of passive-aggressiveness is unknown. There may be environmental and genetic factors that contribute to the development of this behavior pattern.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Factors that may increase your risk of passive-aggressive behavior include:
A mental health professional diagnoses passive-aggressiveness after doing a psychological evaluation. This may include a range of mental health and neurological tests to assess how the brain is functioning.
There is no medication available for passive-aggressiveness. If anxiety or depression is also involved, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants. Antidepressants are medications that ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Counseling can help you become aware of the problem and acknowledge the need to change.
There are no known ways to prevent passive-aggressive behavior.
American Psychological Association
Mental Health America
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Passive-aggressive personality disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated November 30, 2009. Accessed August 13, 2013.
Personality disorders. Mental Health America website. Available at: http://www.nmha.or... . Accessed August 13, 2013.
Last reviewed August 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 5/11/2013