Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.Sc.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Paivio, Sandra (Psychology)

Keywords

Clinical psychology.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Alexithymia involves difficulties identifying and describing emotions and externally-oriented thinking, and is associated with numerous psychological problems. Though commonly assessed through self-report questionnaires, the present study also used a performance-based neuropsychological measure of auditory-affective perception (AAP). Hypotheses were: (1) AAP would be associated with self-reported alexithymia, and (2) AAP, alexithymia, and interpersonal problems would mediate the relationship between trauma exposure and depression. Fifty-three undergraduate students pre-screened for trauma exposure reported above-average alexithymia and interpersonal problems, mild trauma exposure and depression, and made an average number of AAP mistakes. Regression analyses supported self-reported alexithymia as a partial mediator of the relationship between trauma exposure and depression, suggesting that depressive symptoms developed following trauma exposure are partially related to the development of alexithymic symptoms. AAP performance was not significantly correlated with the measure of alexithymia, suggesting self-reported alexithymic symptoms are independent of the ability to recognize auditorially-presented emotions; possible explanations are discussed.

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