The distinctiveness and utility of a brief measure of alexithymia for adolescents
Very little research with adolescents has examined the extent that alexithymia is distinctive from other potentially overlapping self-evaluative traits, or the extent that it is related to social and emotional wellbeing. Teenagers in Grade 8 (N = 796) completed self-report measures of alexithymia, self-esteem, trait hope, social support, and emotional well-being. Teachers also rated each student’s level of emotional and behavioural adjustment. Factor analysis showed that alexithymia was distinguishable from the other self-evaluative traits as well as from the positive and negative affective states. Correlation analyses found that alexithymia was associated with lower quantity and quality of social support, lower positive affect, and higher negative affect, even when controlling for self-esteem and trait hope. These findings have important implications for the assessment and consequences of alexithymia in adolescents.