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J Fam Psychol. 2013 Apr;27(2):203-11. doi: 10.1037/a0031961.

Alexithymia and marital quality: the mediating roles of loneliness and intimate communication.

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1
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri–Columbia, MO 65211, USA. nef6fd@mail.missouri.edu

Abstract

This study examined the mediating roles of loneliness and intimate communication in the association between alexithymia and marital quality. Guided by a personality-behavioral approach to loneliness and affection exchange theory (AET), two actor-partner interdependence models (APIMs) were examined to test the associations among the variables. Path models (N = 155 couples) indicated that, for both spouses, loneliness and intimate communication fully mediated the association between alexithymia and marital quality. More specifically, higher alexithymia was associated with greater loneliness, which predicted lower intimate communication, which was related to lower marital quality. Multiple specific indirect effects were also significant, suggesting that the association between alexithymia and marital quality may be explained through divergent intrapersonal and interpersonal pathways. Although the magnitude of the intrapersonal associations was similar for both spouses, the results revealed gender differences in spousal interpersonal associations. For husbands, consistent differences were found between intrapersonal and interpersonal associations. Conversely, for wives, no significant differences were found between intrapersonal and interpersonal associations, suggesting that their marital quality was most strongly predicted by their own and their spouse's alexithymia, loneliness, and perceptions of intimate communication. Theoretical implications and future directions for research are also discussed.

PMID:
23544920
DOI:
10.1037/a0031961
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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