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Title: Adolescent psychopathology and alexithymia: a systematic review of the literature
Author: Clougher, Derek  
Tutor: Ferrer Duch, Maria Angels
Abstract: Adolescence is a critical developmental period characterised by emotional, social and physical changes which can leave young people vulnerable to mental health difficulties. A wide body of research suggests that emotion regulation may be one of the central transdiagnostic constructs of adolescent psychopathology. Similarly, alexithymia, the term used to describe those who have difficulty expressing and identifying their own and others' emotions, has been cited as a developmental construct that emerges in adolescence. Although extensively researched in adulthood there has been less focus on the potential link between adolescent psychopathology and alexithymia. This review aims to address the gap in the literature by exploring this link. A systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines. Eighteen studies were identified through a literature search of PubMed, Cochrane Trials Library, Sociological Abstracts and Google Scholar. All included studies investigated adolescent psychopathology and alexithymia. Specifically, seven studies reported on eating disorders, three on self-harm, two on post-traumatic stress disorder and two on borderline personality disorder. Of the remaining four studies one each investigated the link with depression, psychological distress, trauma and psychosis. The association between alexithymia and multiple psychopathologies in adolescence suggests that screening for alexithymia when treating these disorders may have important implications for both clinical practice and mental health intervention in this vulnerable population. Results are interpreted in the discussion. Future directions for research on adolescent psychopathology and alexithymia are also discussed.
Keywords: psychopathology
mental health intervention
emotion regulation
Document type: info:eu-repo/semantics/masterThesis
Issue Date: 16-Jun-2020
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Appears in Collections:Bachelor thesis, research projects, etc.

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