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Title: Alexithymia, attachment and psychological wellbeing in young adults leaving care
Author: Paull, Kelly
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 7186
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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The relatively poor outcomes of young people who have grown up in Local Authority care are well documented. However, little is known about the psychological constructs that may contribute to, or underpin, these poor psychological and social outcomes. This study explored whether a group of care-leavers differed from a group of similar aged individuals who grew up with their birth families with respect to alexithymia, attachment security and psychological distress. A secondary aim of the study was to add to the growing understanding of how these psychological constructs relate to one another. A group of care-leavers (n=43) were recruited to take part in the study through care-leaver social care teams. The comparison group (n=43) consisted of young adult students who attended a further education college in the same geographical area. The groups were matched for gender and educational achievement. All participants were asked to complete four self-report questionnaires: a demographics questionnaire, an alexithymia assessment, a measure of attachment related anxiety and avoidance and a measure of psychological distress. Contrary to the hypotheses, statistical analyses of the results demonstrated that the groups were not significantly different with respect to psychological distress and attachment. However, the care-leaver group reported significantly higher scores on the alexithymia measure, in particular reporting more difficulties describing feelings. Significant positive correlations were found between attachment, alexithymia and psychological distress. One component of alexithymia, difficulties identify feelings, was a significant predictor of psychological distress in a regression analysis. Alexithymia, and in particular the difficulties identifying feelings subscale, were significant mediators of the relationship between attachment insecurity and psychological distress. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to possibilities for therapeutic work with care-leavers and more generally with all young adults experiencing psychological difficulties.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology