Running Head: The Mediating Role of Alexithymia in the Relationship between Insecure Attachment and Loneliness

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Panos Kordoutis, Markos Moschos


Attachment-related insecurities along with emotional processing difficulties, hamper the ability of individuals to acquire and maintain close relational bonds. Identification and expression of feelings enable individuals to form supportive and intimate interpersonal relationships, and serve a protective function against experiencing loneliness. This is particularly relevant in young adults, who experience important life transitions and their levels of loneliness show an upward trend, the last decades. This study aims to investigate associations between alexithymic characteristics and adult attachment orientations (anxiety and avoidance), as well as, the mediating role of alexithymia in the relationship between insecure attachment and loneliness. Our sample consisted of 379 Greek-speaking young adults, aged 18-25, who took part in an online survey and completed measures of attachment orientation, alexithymia and loneliness. Regression models indicated that both attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance were positively associated with alexithymia dimensions and consistently predicted higher level of loneliness. Results also revealed, that alexithymia partially mediated the effects of both attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety on participant’s levels of loneliness. The findings underline that individuals who have the capacity to understand and express their emotions can benefit from receiving emotional support and feel less lonely. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as, directions for future research are also discussed.

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