Alexithymia and the interpretation of hostile-provoking situations

Howard Berenbaum, Rachel Davis, John McGrew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: To examine the relationship between alexithymia and the interpretation of hostility-provoking situations. Methods: Sixty-two college students completed the TAS-20 and the Test for the Interpretation of Provoking Situations (TIPS). The TIPS measures how accurately participants can select the most likely explanation for the occurrence of a hypothetical, potentially provoking situation; it also measures how accurately participants judge whether explanations for events are innocent or noninnocent. Results: Higher levels of alexithymia were associated with greater degrees of accuracy in interpreting the innocence of interpersonal information. The facets of alexithymia that were most strongly associated with interpretation accuracy varied by gender. Conclusions: Alexithymia is not associated with a general affect recognition deficit. The results are consistent with social factors playing a central role in alexithymia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-258
Number of pages5
JournalPsychotherapy and Psychosomatics
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


  • Affect recognition
  • Alexithymia
  • Hostility
  • Interpersonal information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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