Vakgroep Psychologie, Gezondheid & Technologie

The association between emotional awareness, alexithymia and coping styleS 


-       Bachelor thesis, internal

-       1 or 2 students

-       Own data collection

-       quantitative empirical study    



Emotional awareness plays a crucial role in emotion regulation. In order to regulate your emotions, an essential first step is to notice them - in time. Yet many people lack in emotional awareness. Studies show that around 10 percent of the population experiences great difficulties in timely noticing own emotions [6-21]. These people often suffer from ‘alexithymia’. When presence of alexithymia coincides with psychological disorder, not being able to recognize one’s own emotions can lead to emotional dysregulation, impaired daily functioning and less overall well-being. Low emotional awareness and alexithymia have been found to be associated with multiple mental disorders. 


What we would like you to dive into, is whether the level of alexithymia and emotional awareness is associated with specific coping style(s) and/or certain problematic behaviors (examples could be a tendency towards drinking too much, gambling, unhealthy eating habits, self-harming behaviors, or others).


Who are we looking for?

We are looking for 1 or 2 motivated students who have a genuine interest in the topics of emotional awareness, alexithymia, and (clinical) personality psychology in general. Although proper guidance throughout your thesis will be offered, and you will be given a head start with some interesting literature and tons of suggestions for further reading, as well as a digital data-collection platform containing most of the questionnaires you will be using, we’ll be expecting a high level of autonomy. We like you to come up with own ideas and formulate your hypotheses on the matter. Basic knowledge on statistics (i.e. linear regression models, factor analysis, mediation analysis) is assumed present, so you can do (most of) the analyses without needing help.
As you will be collecting the data on your own, we’re looking for someone who knows how to set up a plan on how to collect the data (i.e. what questionnaires will you be using next to what is already available, how will you get in contact with potential participants, et cetera) – and get it done.



Youri Derks, MSc, health psychologist/PhD-student