Date of Award
Master of Science (MS) in Psychology: General/Experimental
There is research to suggest that a girl’s negative relationship with her mother can affect her psychological adjustment as an adult. One example of this negative relationship is a mother who excessively controls her daughter. This type of negative relationship is associated with many psychological difficulties, including alexithymia (i.e. the inability to identify and express what one is feeling) and shame (i.e. pervasive feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy; Kooiman et al., 2004; Kapur & Rai, 2013). A controlling mother can make her child feel like she lacks autonomy (i.e. she lacks a sense that she is capable of accomplishing important tasks on her own), and that which she does independently is always unacceptable. Excessive maternal control can lead to feelings of learned helplessness in girls, because they are not given the opportunity to learn how to trust their own instincts (Kapur & Rai, 2013; Uji, Kitamura, & Nagata, 2009). This sense of being incompetent when facing life challenges can lead to a global sense of shame. In turn, shame can lead to alexithymia (Zimmermann, Rossier, Meyer de Stadelhofen, & Gaillard, 2005). The results of a bootstrapped mediational analysis were consistent with the hypothesis that maternal control would be associated with higher levels of alexithymia via the indirect influence of shame.
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Pogue, Alyson, "Maternal control, shame, and alexithymia" (2018). EWU Masters Thesis Collection. 520.