Alexithymia and Help-Seeking Attitudes in College-Aged Students

Catarina L. Carosa, Amy L. Button

Abstract


Aim: This epidemiological study focused on prevalence of the personality trait, alexithymia – the inability to recognize and describe one’s own emotions – among college-aged students. Method: Levels of normative alexithymia (measured by the NMAS), clinical alexithymia (measured by the TAS), as well as attitudes towards help seeking behavior (measured by the ATSPPH) were assessed. Results: A total of 547 participants were collected from over 48 colleges and universities, primarily in Western New York. Results indicated that 89.5% of college students displayed moderate to high levels of normative alexithymia and 48.7% displayed moderate to high levels of clinical alexithymia. Additionally, there were no significant differences between the scores of men and women on either alexithymia measure. Significant findings indicated that there was a positive relationship between clinical alexithymia scores and attitudes toward help-seeking. Conclusion: These results call into question previous literature, which states that there is no correlation between alexithymia and help-seeking behavior (Berger et al., 2005, https://doi.org/10.1037/1524-9220.6.1.73). The results of this study suggest a shift in culture, as well as a need for more research regarding alexithymia.

Keywords


gender; alexithymia; mental health; college students