Alexithymia and mood: Recognition of emotion in self and others

Michael Lyvers, Susan M Kohlsdorf, Mark S. Edwards, Fred Arne Thorberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study explored relationships between alexithymia-a trait characterized by difficulties identifying and describing feelings and an external thinking style-and negative moods, negative mood regulation expectancies, facial recognition of emotions, emotional empathy, and alcohol consumption. The sample consisted of 102 university (primarily psychology) students (13 men, 89 women) aged 18 to 50 years (M = 22.18 years). Participants completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), Negative Mood Regulation Scale (NMRS), Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21), Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET), Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), and Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Results were consistent with previous findings of positive relationships of TAS-20 alexithymia scores with both alcohol use (AUDIT) and negative moods (DASS-21) and a negative relationship with emotional self-regulation as indexed by NMRS. Predicted negative associations of both overall TAS-20 alexithymia scores and the externally oriented thinking (EOT) subscale of the TAS-20 with both RMET facial recognition of emotions and the empathic concern (EC) subscale of the IRI were supported. The mood self-regulation index NMRS fully mediated the relationship between alexithymia and negative moods. Hierarchical linear regressions revealed that, after other relevant variables were controlled for, the EOT subscale of the TAS-20 predicted RMET and EC. The concrete thinking or EOT facet of alexithymia thus appears to be associated with diminished facial recognition of emotions and reduced emotional empathy. The negative moods associated with alexithymia appear to be linked to subjective difficulties in self-regulation of emotions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychology
Volume130
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

Affective Symptoms
Ego
Emotions
Reading
Alcohols
Recognition (Psychology)
Emotion
Mood
Alexithymia
Alcohol Drinking
Linear Models
Anxiety
Depression
Students
Psychology
Thinking
Alcohol

Cite this

Lyvers, Michael ; Kohlsdorf, Susan M ; Edwards, Mark S. ; Thorberg, Fred Arne. / Alexithymia and mood : Recognition of emotion in self and others. In: American Journal of Psychology. 2017 ; Vol. 130, No. 1. pp. 83-92.
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Alexithymia and mood : Recognition of emotion in self and others. / Lyvers, Michael; Kohlsdorf, Susan M; Edwards, Mark S.; Thorberg, Fred Arne.

In: American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 130, No. 1, 2017, p. 83-92.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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