Parental bonding and alexithymia: A meta-analysis

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Journal Article

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Thorberg, F. A., Young, R. M., Sullivan, K. A. & Lyvers, M. F. (2011). Parental bonding and alexithymia: A meta-analysis. European Psychiatry, 26 (3), 187-193.

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2011 HERDC submission. FoR code: 170101

© Copyright Elsevier Masson SAS, 2011




The primary purpose of this meta-analysis was to explore, clarify and report the strength of the relationship between alexithymia, as measured by the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), and parenting style as measured by the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI).

Methods - Web of Science, PsycInfo, PubMed and ProQuest: Dissertations and Theses searches were undertaken, yielding nine samples with sufficient data to be included in the meta-analysis.

Results - Evidence indicated moderate to strong relationships between maternal care and alexithymia, and between maternal care and two of the three TAS-20 alexithymia facets (Difficulties Describing Feelings and Difficulties Identifying Feelings, but not Externally Oriented Thinking). Moderate relationships were observed for both maternal- and paternal-overprotection and alexithymia respectively, and for overprotection (both maternal and paternal) and Difficulties Describing Feelings.

Conclusion - This study is the first meta-analysis of the relationship between parenting styles and alexithymia, and findings confirm an especially strong association between maternal care and key elements of alexithymia. This review highlights the issues that still remain to be addressed in exploring the link between parenting style and alexithymia.

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This document has been peer reviewed.