Alexithymia and psychosocial problems among Italian preadolescents. A latent class analysis approach.


The study, conducted on Italian preadolscents aged 11 to 13 belonging to the general population, aims to investigate the relationship between the emotional functioning, namely, alexithymia, and the risk of developing behavioral and emotional problems measured using the Strength and Difficulty Questionnaire. The latent class analysis approach allowed to identify two latent variables, accounting for the internalizing (emotional symptoms and difficulties in emotional awareness) and for the externalizing problems (conduct problems and hyperactivity, problematic relationships with peers, poor prosocial behaviors and externally oriented thinking). The two latent variables featured two latent classes: the difficulty in dealing with problems and the strength to face problems that was representative of most of the healthy participants with specific gender differences. Along with the analysis of psychopathological behaviors, the study of resilience and strengths can prove to be a key step in order to develop valuable preventive approaches to tackle psychiatric disorders.