The Effects of Sex, Education and Marital Status on Alexithymia
Background: Alexithymia is a sub-clinical condition characterized by an inability to identify and describe emotions, together with an externally oriented thinking style. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of sex, education and marital status on alexithymia in African university students.
Methods: A total of 368 Nigerian university students were involved in the study. Participants were 170 men and 198 women who were 17-27 years of age. Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) was used to assess the points associated with alexithymia. Data were analyzed by applying student’s t-test (independent sample test) and one way ANOVA tests in SPSS for Windows (version 18) statistical program.
Results: Alexithymia score was higher in female than in male subjects (t=2.83, p˂0.01). There was an inverse relationship between alexithymia scores and years of education (F=5.74, p˂0.001). Single subjects had the statistically higher alexithymia scores than the married subjects (t=2.18, p˂0.05).
Conclusions: According to these results, it can be stated that male gender, university education and marriage may be related to the lower alexithymia scores in university students. Also, these results suggested that university education individualize to students and improves their mental health by decreasing their alexithymia scores.