Indeed, there is no reliable research support for codependence and related concepts. Although there have been a few attempts to measure it, they fizzled out as it proved as slippery as a horoscope—and a search of PubMed reveals little further research interest in it since the turn of the century.
"There is no disease of codependence," adds Wilkens. "It's not in the DSM [psychiatry's diagnostic manual], you can't diagnose and get reimbursed for it. It doesn't exist." She adds, "If you line up ten people who some treatment provider has given the disease of codependence, all ten have something profoundly different going on in terms of how they work, how they see the world, where they are in terms of what's going on with their loved ones, and their compensatory strategies to deal with what is happening in the home."