Research Reports - The impact of alexithymia on relationship quality and satisfaction following traumatic brain injury

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2013 Sep-Oct;28(5)

Williams C, Wood RL

OBJECTIVES: To explore relationship quality and satisfaction in couples following
traumatic brain injury (TBI), obtaining the perspective of both patients with TBI
and their noninjured partner; to examine the impact of alexithymia on ratings of
relationship quality and satisfaction following TBI.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 47 patients with TBI and their noninjured partners.
MEASURES: Twenty-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale; Index of Marital Satisfaction;
and Dyadic Adjustment Scale.
RESULTS: Significant differences emerged between patients with TBI and their
noninjured partners on measures of relationship quality and satisfaction, with
patients reporting significantly fewer relationship problems and greater levels
of overall relationship satisfaction. In contrast, the noninjured partners of
patients with TBI and acquired alexithymia reported significantly lower ratings
of overall relationship quality, adjustment, consensus, and cohesion.
CONCLUSION: The presence of alexithymia in persons with TBI is an important
factor affecting relationship quality and satisfaction. Future research should
continue to explore the impact of emotional deficit disorders following TBI on
the quality of relationships following injury and, in turn, the risk of
relationship breakdown.

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