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Investigating alexithymia, emotional expression, childhood trauma and attachment in self-reported disordered eating behavior

Journal: Klinik Psikoloji Dergisi (Vol.5, No. 3)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ;

Page : 266-274

Keywords : young adults; disordered eating behaviour; alexithymia; emotion; childhood trauma;

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Eating disorders, a diagnostic group in which eating behaviour is seriously impaired, are a growing problem worldwide. Psychological factors underlying eating disorders have been investigated, yet no definite conclusions have been drawn. An important area of research is the relationships between eating disorders, early childhood experiences, and emotional expression difficulties. The purpose of this study was to examine the early childhood traumas, alexithymia, emotional expression, and attachment styles in young adults with self-reported disordered eating behaviour, in comparison with individuals with no reported eating behaviour and health issues. Included in the study were 39 participants with disordered eating behaviour and 20 participants as control, between 18-35 years of age, and consisting 43 women and 16 men. Participants completed medical history and sociodemographic information form, Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, Twenty-Item Toronto Alexithymia Scale, Emotional Expression Questionnaire, and Experience in Close Relationships. Results showed that physical abuse and alexithymia were significantly more prevalent in individuals with self-reported disordered eating behaviour. Attachment anxiety and avoidance scores were high in both groups, with no significant difference. There was no difference in emotional expression in positive, negative or intimacy subscores between groups. Findings suggested that clinical psychologists need to examine early childhood experiences, family dynamics, and alexithymia in detail to apply more efficient intervention approaches for young adults with disordered eating behaviour. It is also remarkable that more than half of the individuals with disordered eating behaviour have not received any psychological consultation indicating that there is a need for increasing public awareness towards eating behaviour problems.

Last modified: 2022-02-06 02:56:14