John Tzanos


Bardos, Achilles N.

Committee Member

Hulac, David

Committee Member

Shafie, Khalil

Committee Member

Ososkie, Joseph


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



173 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The current study examined the effect of a modified expressive writing intervention compared to a traditional intervention and their effect on alexithymia and emotional expressivity while controlling for attachment style and social desirability among 150 undergraduate and graduate college students. The survey was administered online using a Qualtrics online survey tool. Participants were randomly divided into six groups: (a) low alexithymia/traditional intervention, (b) moderate alexithymia/traditional invention, (c) high alexithymia/traditional intervention, (d) low alexithymia/modified intervention, (e) moderate alexithymia/ modified intervention, and (f) high alexithymia/ modified intervention. The three groupings of levels of alexithymia—low (61) alexithymia—were based on the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 (TAS-20, Bagby, Parker, & Taylor, 1994) pretest score. The intervention involved undergoing a writing task in two sessions: writing a short essay using the two-treatment assignment (modified versus traditional) in a span of a week. After the participants completed the two sessions of writing, they were administered follow-up surveys of the Berkeley Expressivity Questionnaire (BEQ, Gross & John, 1997) and TAS-20 to obtain posttest scores for emotional expressivity and levels of alexithymia. Two different survey questionnaires were used to control for social desirability and attachment style: the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale short form (Beretvas, Meyers, & Leite, 2002) and the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised (Wei, Russell, Mallinckrodt, & Vogel, 2007). Statistical analysis for this study was a repeated measures multivariate analysis of covariance. The present study did not detect any effect of either expressive writing condition on alexithymia or emotional expressivity in college students with low, moderate, and high levels of alexithymia, whereas the two covariates, social desirability and emotional attachment style, did indeed affect participants’ levels of alexithymia and emotional expressivity. The current research added to a growing body of literature on the efficacy of expressive writing prompts as treatments for alexithymia and provided a foundation for future research.

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