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Negative life experiences, alexithymia, and physical symptoms

Mayberry, Emily (2016) Negative life experiences, alexithymia, and physical symptoms. DClinPsy thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Estimates suggest that a large proportion of people attending medical appointments have symptoms that are not entirely attributable to structural or pathophysiological explanations – often termed ‘functional symptoms’. These symptoms are distressing for individuals and are associated with high healthcare costs. A range of psychosocial factors, including negative life experiences of trauma, negative affect, and relationship insecurity, are believed to play a role in the development, maintenance, and reporting of these symptoms. Developmental theories suggest that these psychosocial factors might also interact with one another and impact emotional development, thus making people more vulnerable to the emotional processing difficulty of alexithymia, which is also associated with functional symptoms. Therefore, this thesis begins by exploring relationships between insecure attachment styles, alexithymia, and symptoms that are not fully explained medically, through a review of existing literature. It then builds on previously published work by validating a new measure of trauma, affect, and relationship insecurity. It tests the reliability and validity of the measure and the measure’s ability to predict the potentially relevant variables of emotional processing difficulties and physical symptom reporting in a community sample. It also explores whether alexithymia and relationship insecurity mediate the relationship between early life trauma and current physical symptom reporting within this sample.

Item Type: Thesis (DClinPsy)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Emily Mayberry
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2016 10:24
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2016 12:52
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14307

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