When parenting fails: alexithymia and attachment states of mind in mothers of female patients with eating disorders
To clarify the relationships of eating disturbances to alexithymia, need for social approval, and gender identity, 194 Japanese female undergraduate students completed the following rating scales; 26-item Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), 20-items Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), Gender Identity scale, and the revised Martin–Larsen Approval Motivation Scale (MLAM), and we analysed the findings. The hypothesized path model was examined by stepwise multiple regression analyses. The results showed the Difficulty Feelings subscale of TAS-20 had a direct relationship with all of the subscales of EAT-26. On the other hand, the Difficulty Describing Feelings subscale of TAS-20 was directly associated only with the Oral Control subscales of EAT-26. The Difficulty Describing Feelings subscale showed significant relationships with the dieting and the bulimia and food preoccupation subscales of EAT-26 mediated by MLAM, which measured the need for social approval. Gender identity was directly and significantly related to the dieting and Oral Control subscales, whereas it was not associated with MLAM. We suggested that each aspect of eating disturbances had different psychological factors. 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.