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Research published in the journal Psychology Bulletin, suggests that there is a link between childhood experiences of maltreatment  (such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or physical or emotional neglect) can have a long-lasting impact on emotional development. Alexithymia (also known as emotional blindness) was exhibited in higher levels in adults who had experienced maltreatment. 

“During my time in the clinic, I noticed that many of these children were struggling with understanding and expressing their emotions. This was having a significant impact on their daily lives and impeding their progress in therapy. It was this realization that sparked my interest in delving deeper into the connection between child maltreatment and alexithymia. I wanted to explore how these experiences shape emotional understanding, experiences, and regulation, and ultimately, how they affect mental health outcomes.” 

Study author Julia Ditzer, a PhD student at the Technical University of Dresden affiliated with the Chair of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.


Read more on PsyPost, or read the full meta-analysis in Psychology Bulletin.