Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Stacey N Doan


The current study examined the relations between maternal alexithymia and child’s negative outcomes in the form of behavioral problems and adaptive regulatory capacity, as indexed by respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). It also explores the main and mediating role of positive emotion socialization. Participants consisted of 155 mother-child dyads within a 25-mile radius of a college in Southern California (Mothers Mage=33.1 years, SD=5.5; Children Mage=42.01 months, SD=4.68; 51% male children). The Toronto Alexithymia Scale-26 (TAS-26) and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) were given to mothers to report on alexithymic traits and their child’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors, respectively. Child’s adaptive regulatory capacity was measured through baseline RSA. Emotion socialization was measured and coded from a lab based observational task. Results from the current study suggested that alexithymia was associated with increased behavioral problems but had no impact on RSA. However, positive emotion socialization was also predictive of children’s baseline RSA levels.

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