Lucia Lombardi, Alessandra Babore, Carmen Trumello

Living the body in adolescence: An exploratory research on female participants

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Keywords: Body experience, alexithymia, adolescence, parental emotional availability, female.

Adolescence is considered a critical period of life, with the body and the emotional experience occupying a central role in the individual’s development. Previous research highlights the influence of biological, psychological and socio-cultural factors on the adolescent’s body experience. In fact, interactions with parents may have an impact on the development of body image during childhood and adolescence, especially in females. The first aim of the study was to investigate the bodily experience of female adolescents in order to detect the variables that can play a role in its development, such as the relationship with parental figures and the ability to recognize and express emotions. In addition, we analysed differences in alexithymia and body experience between younger adolescents (i.e., < 17 years old) and older adolescents (i.e., ≥ 17 years old). The current research has shown, through a multiple linear regression analysis, that alexithymia (18.4% of explained variance) and maternal emotional availability (2.8% of explained variance) were significant predictors of bodily experience. Furthermore, younger adolescents had higher scores on both alexithymia and negative bodily experience than older adolescents, indicating the presence of greater difficulties both in physical experience and in the ability to recognize and express emotions.

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