Parent and Child Reports of Child's Alexithymia May Not Be Related in Typical Development

Author: ORCID icon
Lampi, Andrew, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Jaswal, Vikram, AS-Psychology, University of Virginia

Alexithymia, a subclinical trait involving difficulty describing and identifying emotions, is common in a number of psychiatric conditions, including autism. Alexithymia in children is sometimes measured by parent report and sometimes by child self-report, but it is not yet known how well the two measures are related. We investigated this question in a sample of 6- to 11-year-old neurotypical children and their parents (N = 30 dyads). Parent and child reports were not correlated, and most parents underestimated their child’s level of alexithymia relative to the child’s self-report. This suggests that when asked to report on the child’s alexithymia, children and parents may not be reporting on the same thing. These provocative findings, however, must be considered preliminary because a post-hoc analysis showed the analyses were underpowered. Using simulations, I show that to test whether the presence or absence of a correlation best fit these data, 300 dyads would be needed.

MA (Master of Arts)
Alexithymia, Parent-Child Dyads, Parent report, Child report, Self-vs. Other report
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