عاطفه واسطه تاثیر آلکسی تایمیا بر روابط
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|31222||2011||6 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||4180 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 50, Issue 4, April 2011, Pages 451–456
Previous research has shown alexithymia leading to a deficit in the ability of an individual to build and maintain relationships. Using the tenets of Affection Exchange Theory, the current study hypothesized a mediating role of trait affection in the relationship between alexithymia and both attachment behavior (specifically, anxious/avoidant and the need for intimacy) and an individual’s self-reported number of close relationships. Participants (N = 921) filled out self-report measures of all variables, and the hypotheses were tested using a path analysis. Findings largely supported the predictions, with affection partially mediating the relationship between alexithymia and anxious/avoidant attachment and fully mediating the relationship between alexithymia and the need for intimacy and the number of close relationships. One sex interaction was also found, with the relationship between alexithymia and the need for intimacy becoming significantly stronger for women than for men. Implications and directions for future research are explored.
Sifneos (1973), after noticing several individuals who seemed unconcerned with emotional discourse during therapy, highlighted the construct of alexithymia, which simply means a lack of words for emotions. The term describes individuals who (1) are unable to understand and process emotion; (2) are unable to communicate their emotions to others; and (3) process events and behaviors externally, due to the inability to understand internal motivations (Taylor, Bagby, & Parker, 1997). These individuals are generally not expressive, showing little outside emotional communication, and are uncomfortable discussing feelings and cognitive mechanisms. Alexithymic individuals find it more difficult than non-alexithymic individuals to even make lexical decisions in communicating emotions (Suslow & Junghaans, 2002). One study found an inverse relationship in the amount of nonverbal expressiveness (e.g. yawning, self-grooming, fumbling, and closing the eyes) for individuals during a psychiatric interview and alexithymia, with a positive relationship between alexithymia and individual behaviors indicating avoidance, anxiety, and tension (Troisi et al., 1996). Other research has found a deficit in empathy in alexithymic individuals compared to non-alexithymics (e.g. Moriguchi et al., 2007). Overall, over the previous few decades researchers have built a large body of work regarding the relationship between alexithymia and a host of psychological and physiological outcome variables (see review in Taylor and Bagby (2004)). Alexithymia, for example, is positively related to eating disorders (Sureda, Valdés, Jódar, & de Pablo, 1999), substance abuse (Lumley, Stettner, & Wehmer, 1996), self-reports of pain (Kano, Hamaguchi, Itoh, Yanai, & Fukudo, 2007), and fibromyalgia (Van Middendorp et al., 2008). Alexithymia appears to thus impact the health of an individual in a multitude of avenues. Researchers have also started to examine the relationship between alexithymia and interpersonal success. One of the larger areas of research in this field has been on the relationship between alexithymia and individual attachment traits. Several studies have examined the impact of alexithymia, including a tendency to have a fearful attachment style (Wearden, Lamberton, Crook, & Walsh, 2005) and testing higher on attachment anxiety and avoidance (Mallinckrodt & Wei, 2005). Montebarocci, Codispoti, Baldaro, and Rossi (2004) discovered a positive relationship between alexithymia and a host of attachment problems such as placing relationships as secondary and needing more approval from others. Overall, alexithymics appear to have greater difficulty forming relationships, prone to social isolation and lacking in trust (Kokkonen et al., 2001 and Vanheule et al., 2007). This deficit is apparent in the ability of alexithymic individuals to create and maintain meaningful attachments to others. Hesse and Floyd (2008), in a sample of undergraduate students, found alexithymia to be inversely related to the amount of affection one gave to their closest relationship and how close they were to that individual. Cooley (2006) reported that marital satisfaction was inversely associated with alexithymia. Brody (2003) found an inverse correlation between alexithymia and the frequency of vaginal intercourse for women (though not for men). All of these findings were supported by later research done by Humphreys, Wood, and Parker (2009), who discovered an inverse relationship between alexithymia and both relational and sexual satisfaction. Finally, Hesse and Floyd (in press) examined the real-time impact of alexithymia on initial interactions. Participants high and low in alexithymia underwent a 10-min initial interaction with a partner who had tested in the mid-range on alexithymia. After the interaction, partners reported being less physically and socially attracted to high-alexithymic than non-alexithymic participants (Hesse & Floyd, in press). Overall, the study pointed to an immediate impact of alexithymia in the ability to form attachments. One potential reason for the biopsychosocial impact of alexithymia is the deficit for alexithymic individuals in their levels of trait affection (how much affection an individual generally gives and receives in their relationships). Affection has long been referred to in the literature as a fundamental human need (Burgoon and Hale, 1984 and Schutz, 1966). Recent research has strengthened that claim by discovering a link between communicating and receiving affection with a host of psychological and physiological benefits (for further review, see Floyd (2006a)). Psychologically, more affectionate individuals are less prone to stress and depression (Floyd, 2002), and loneliness (Downs & Javidi, 1990), and more emotionally stable (Davies, Cummings, & Winter, 2004) and happy (Floyd et al., 2005). Physiologically, affectionate behavior is inversely correlated with stress by-products including cortisol, blood pressure, blood glucose, and total cholesterol (e.g. Floyd, 2006b, Floyd et al., 2007 and Floyd et al., 2007). Trait and state affection are positively related with oxytocin (Floyd, Pauley, & Hesse, in press). Relationally, affectionate experience leads to relationships that are closer, more satisfying, and more intimate (Floyd, 2006a). Affection appears to be central to the path towards greater wellness for the individual. We subsequently explain one potential reason for this conclusion.