Objective: Few studies have explored alexithymia at the family level. Nevertheless since family interactions have a crucial role in supporting the adolescents'development, the relationship between the emotional functioning of adolescents with psychiatric disorders and that of their parents is an interesting field to explore. Having established that a close relationship exists between adolescents'alexithymia and psychiatric symptoms, the present study aims to explore the link between alexithymic traits in parents and in their children, and between alexithymia and parental bonding perceived. Method: The sample included 143 participants: adolescents with an ICD-10 psychiatric diagnosis (13-18years), referred to a Childhood, Adolescence and Family Unit, and their parents. They were all assessed for alexithymia (Toronto Alexithymia Scale) and parental bonding perceived (Parental Bonding Instrument), while adolescents' psychiatric symptoms were measured using different scales (Youth Self Report and Symptom Checklist-90-R). Results: In conjunction with an alexithymic collusion within the parental couple, parents' emotional impairments predicted analogous problems in offspring. An intergenerational transmission of alexithymia emerges not only from mother to child but also from father to child. Moreover, the adolescents'emotional awareness was affected by the perception of their mothers' and fathers' parenting styles. Parents' alexithymic traits, combined with children's perception of a neglectful parenting style, appear to be linked with emotional difficulties and therefore with a higher risk of psychological disorders in offspring. Conclusions: Studies focused on the intergenerational transmission of alexithymia and on the family emotional functioning will contribute to design more focused and acceptable treatments for adolescents and for families as well.

Familial factors relating to alexithymic traits in adolescents with psychiatric disorders

GATTA, MICHELA;BALOTTIN, LAURA;MANNARINI, STEFANIA;SPOTO, ANDREA;BATTISTELLA, PIER ANTONIO
2017

Abstract

Objective: Few studies have explored alexithymia at the family level. Nevertheless since family interactions have a crucial role in supporting the adolescents'development, the relationship between the emotional functioning of adolescents with psychiatric disorders and that of their parents is an interesting field to explore. Having established that a close relationship exists between adolescents'alexithymia and psychiatric symptoms, the present study aims to explore the link between alexithymic traits in parents and in their children, and between alexithymia and parental bonding perceived. Method: The sample included 143 participants: adolescents with an ICD-10 psychiatric diagnosis (13-18years), referred to a Childhood, Adolescence and Family Unit, and their parents. They were all assessed for alexithymia (Toronto Alexithymia Scale) and parental bonding perceived (Parental Bonding Instrument), while adolescents' psychiatric symptoms were measured using different scales (Youth Self Report and Symptom Checklist-90-R). Results: In conjunction with an alexithymic collusion within the parental couple, parents' emotional impairments predicted analogous problems in offspring. An intergenerational transmission of alexithymia emerges not only from mother to child but also from father to child. Moreover, the adolescents'emotional awareness was affected by the perception of their mothers' and fathers' parenting styles. Parents' alexithymic traits, combined with children's perception of a neglectful parenting style, appear to be linked with emotional difficulties and therefore with a higher risk of psychological disorders in offspring. Conclusions: Studies focused on the intergenerational transmission of alexithymia and on the family emotional functioning will contribute to design more focused and acceptable treatments for adolescents and for families as well.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3213541
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