J Korean Acad Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs.  2019 Jun;28(2):124-132. 10.12934/jkpmhn.2019.28.2.124.

The Mediating Effect of Alexithymia on the Relationship between Attachment and Depression in Early Adulthood

  • 1Doctoral Student, Graduate School, Division of Nursing Science, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Associate Professor, College of Nursing, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea. suksunkim@ewha.ac.kr


The purpose of this study was to examine the mediating effect of alexithmia on the relationship between attachment and depression in early adulthood.
A convenience sample of 260 young adults responded to the survey. The collected data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, independent t-test, Pearson's correlation coefficients, and path analyses using bootstrapping.
The path analysis indicated that anxious attachment and alexithymia was positively related to depression, but there was not a significant relationship between avoidant attachment and depression. In a modified path model, alexithymia mediated the positive effects of anxious attachment and avoidant attachment on depression.
Our study findings suggest that early adults who have insecure attachments are vulnerable to alexithymia and depression. Targeted interventions to improve emotional expressive ability may reduce depression in early adulthood.


Adult; Depression; Affective symptoms; Object attachment

MeSH Terms

Affective Symptoms*
Object Attachment
Young Adult


  • Figure 1 Path model diagram prior to modification.

  • Figure 2 Modified path model diagram.


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