Stefania Muzi Francesco Madera

Attachment, alexithymia and emotion regulation strategies in groups of low-risk and high-risk teenagers

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143 adolescents (13-19 years, 56% boys), one low-risk group of 79 community teenagers, and two at-risk groups of 26 late-adoptees and 38 teenagers in residential care, were compared on attachment security toward parents and peers (IPPA), alexithymia (TAS-20), and emotion regulation strategies cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression (ERQ-CA), also studying the relationships between these constructs. Only adolescents in residential-care were proved as an at-risk group, being more insecurely-attached to parents and more alexithymic than the other two groups, not differing from each other. Moreover, models of prediction showed that: adolescents in residential-care and those less secure in the attachment to peers showed 26% more alexithymia; higher alexithymia predicted 14.7% higher use of the maladaptive strategy expressive suppression; adolescents more secure in maternal attachment were 9.4% more prone to use the adaptive strategy cognitive reappraisal. In conclusion, these results support the clinical utility to investigate these constructs in these three groups, as useful to identify universal and group-specific vulnerability and risk factors.


  • Adolescence
  • attachment
  • emotional regulation
  • adoption
  • institutionalized children


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