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Title: Alexithymia and relationship satisfaction
Author: Ayers, James
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2002
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The research literature on factors associated with relationship satisfaction and relationship failure suggests that the expression of emotion has a vital role in the maintenance or failure of marriages and cohabiting partner relationships. Relationship failure is a significant clinical concern because of the association with increased suicide risk for separating partners and negative consequences for children of parents whose relationship is characterised by high levels of conflict. Longitudinal follow up studies have been used to clearly describe a destructive style of conflict resolution, based on a lack of communication of emotion between couples who then subsequently divorce or separate. However no research has been carried out to determine how the alexithymic personality trait, which is characterised by an inability to express emotion impacts upon cohabiting partner relationships such as marriages. This study used a clinical sample of men presenting with mental health problems to two adjoining community mental health teams. The study investigated whether the ability of men to express emotion, measured by the Toronto Alexithymia Scale was correlated with their satisfaction levels in cohabiting relationships (measured by the Relationship Assessment Scale). In addition, the hypothesis that alexithymic men may be more vulnerable, through their difficulties in expressing emotion to enter destructive partners of conflict resolution that lead to relationship failure was also investigated by correlating alexithymia scores with the number of failed precious cohabiting relationship the men had experienced. Results were not statistically significant, as it was only possible to collect a small, homogenous sample of men that was not sufficient for fairly evaluating the hypotheses of this study. The replication of this preliminary study within a primary care service, where participants may be more numerous, along with the additional incentive of payment for participation is recommended, due to the difficulties encountered in recruiting men to participate in a study about relationship satisfaction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available