بررسی رابطه سبکهای دلبستگی و آلکسیتیمیا: نقش واسطه ای مکانیسم های دفاعی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|31241||2013||6 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Asian Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 6, Issue 6, December 2013, Pages 571–576
This study examined the mediating role of ego defense mechanisms on the relationship between attachment styles and alexithymia. Four hundred and forty-three Iranian high school students (213 boys, 230 girls) participated in this study. Participants completed Defense Styles Questionnaire (DSQ-40), Adult Attachment Inventory (AAI), and Farsi version of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (FTAS-20). Results showed a significant negative correlation between secure attachment style and alexithymia, while avoidant and ambivalent attachment styles showed significant positive associations with alexithymia. Regression analysis indicated that defense mechanisms have a mediating role between attachment styles and alexithymia. It can be concluded that a mediation role of ego defense mechanisms on the relationship between attachment styles and alexithymia was partial.
Alexithymia refers to deficit in the ability to recognize and express of emotions, use of concrete speech and thoughts related to external events, and a paucity of fantasy life. It has four main characteristics: (a) disability in distinguishing emotions; (b) disability in describing feelings; (c) constricted imagination; and (d) concrete cognitive style (e.g., Chambers et al., 2009 and Kreibig, 2010). It is also described as a difficulty in emotion regulation (e.g., Bermond et al., 2010 and Stasiewicz et al., 2012) which is the complex process of interaction between neurophysiological, motor-expressive, and cognitive-experiential systems of emotions. Because of this, alexithymia elicits in different forms such as disabilities to conceptualization of affect, distinguish among emotions, experience of emotions consciously and describe the stress which is displaced to body dysfunctions (Nemiah, 2000). Alexithymia has association with a variety of psychological disorders and physical illnesses (Evren et al., 2012). Therefore, it is important to know more about the developmental background of alexithymia. Studies show that childhood experiences with caregivers who do not express their emotions, and use insufficient strategies of responding to children's negative emotions, have a strong effect in emotion regulation in adulthood (e.g., Carrère and Bowie, 2012 and Roque and Veríssimo, 2011). These findings imply that the ability to recognize, describe and regulate emotions is related to child's relationships with attachment figures. Research on the relationship between attachment styles and alexithymia shows that alexithymia features are more common in the insecure attachment styles (Besharat, 2010). Family studies of alexithymia show that children who grow up in an emotionally and physically insecure environments which prevent them from expressing emotions do not learn successful coping skills for their emotions and consequently feel discomfort when they do experience emotions (e.g., Besharat, 2010). These difficulties, in addition to lack of appropriate patterns for expressing emotions, may lead to anxiety and ambivalence toward expressing emotions (e.g., Karukivi et al., 2011). Individuals with poor maternal care experiences show alexithymia characteristics, especially difficulties in expressing emotions (e.g., Karukivi et al., 2011). Insecure attachment may cause failure in learning how to feel and may pave the way for alexithymia (Wearden et al., 2005). Insecure feelings in attachment relationships anticipate defect and inadequacy in the identification of and expressing of emotions (Dewitte et al., 2010). Despite these studies, we do not fully understand the mechanisms via which attachment style can affect emotion regulation. Therefore, it is important to assess the variables which have a mediator effect on this relationship. Freud (1923) believed that ego defense style and frequency of using defense mechanisms are the mains factor in the understanding of personality and psychopathology. Mickelson et al. (1997) noted that psychological defense styles may serve as moderators or mediators of early negative relationships and adult psychopathology. Therefore, it can be predicted that defense mechanisms may play an important role in the development of alexithymia when attachment style is insecure. Defense mechanisms are automatic self regulating processes which reduce cognitive discrepancies and minimize sudden changes in external and internal reality by distorting the perception of threatening events (Vaillant, 1994). Andrews et al. (1993) categorized three defense styles based on twenty defense mechanisms suggested by Vaillant (1976). These are named “mature”, “neurotic” and “immature”. The mature defense style represents normal and adaptive methods of coping whereas the immature and neurotic styles are dysfunctional and maladaptive coping strategies. Defense mechanisms are associated with physical and psychological consequences (Vaillant, 2000) and predict several kinds of psychopathology in adolescents (Besharat and Shahidi, 2011 and Kwon and Olson, 2007). Several studies show that development of defense mechanisms is affected by attachment style (Besharat et al., 2001 and McMahon et al., 2005). The way people cope with stressful conditions is influenced by their defense styles, which in turn is determined by their attachment styles (Kobak and Sceery, 1988). On the other hand, it was shown that dysfunctional defense mechanisms are associated with disabilities in recognizing and expressing of affects (Besharat, 2010 and Besharat and Shahidi, 2011). The present study was aimed to examine the mediating role of defense mechanisms on the relationship between attachment styles and alexithymia. By considering theoretical and research findings in this field, there are three hypotheses for this study: (1) there is a negative relationship between secure attachment style and alexithymia; (2) there is a positive relationship between insecure attachment styles and alexithymia; (3) defense mechanisms have a mediating role on the relationship between attachment styles and alexithymia.