The role of parenting and parental criticism on the body image and alexithymia during adulthood and emerging adulthood

  1. Monica, Pellerone
  2. Martinez, Torvisco Juan 1
  3. Velianna, Scaduto Elena
  4. Maria, Pistillo
  1. 1 Universidad de La Laguna

    Universidad de La Laguna

    San Cristobal de La Laguna, España


Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal

ISSN: 2055-0286

Year of publication: 2021

Volume: 8

Issue: 2

Pages: 630-647

Type: Article

DOI: 10.14738/ASSRJ.82.9785 GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor

More publications in: Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal


Literature underline that the perception of parents as strongly critical can influence the tendency to self-criticize and, as a consequence, to be more vulnerable in manifesting problems in the developmental and adulthood age, such as the risk of dropouts and relapses in the eating disorders, negative results in the worsening of anxiety disorders, the possible presence of alexithymia or obsessive compulsive disorder.The purposes of the present study was to investigate the possible influence of parenting style and parental criticism on both the body image construct (body care, body protection, and comfort in touch) and the possible presence of alexithymia in a group of Italian adolescents and adults.The present study was conducted on a group of 140 subjects, aged between 19 and 36 (M = 24.71; SD = 5.11), of which 59 men (42.1%) and 81 women (57.9%).The participants were assigned to complete the following questionnaires: Parental Bonding Instrument, Twenty-Item Toronto Alexithymia Scale, Perceived Criticism Inventory, and Body Checking Questionnaire.The results of this study support the research hypothesis that low age, a high level of paternal control and parental criticism can predict a high level of difficulty in communicating feelings. Furthermore, the importance attributed to appearance can be predicted by multiple variables, such as gender, age, mother care, father control and parental hypercriticism.

Bibliographic References

  • 1. Nemiah, J.C. and Sifneos, P.E., Affect and fantasy in patients whit psychosomatic disorders. In O.W. Hill (cur), Modern Trends in Psychosomatic Medicine, London: Butterworths. 1970.
  • 2. Taylor, G.J., Bagby, R.M., and Parker, J.D.A., I disturbi della regolazione affettiva: l’alessitimia nelle malattie mediche e psichiatriche [Disorders of affective regulation: alexithymia in medical and psychiatric diseases], Roma: Giovanni Fioriti Editore. 2000 (Italian).
  • 3. La Ferlita, V., Bonadies, M., Solano, L., De Gennaro, L., and Gonini, P., Alessitimia e adolescenza: studio preliminare di validazione della TAS20 su un campione di 360 adolescenti italiani [Alexithymia and adolescence: preliminary validation study of the TAS20 on a sample of 360 Italian adolescents]. Infanzia e adolescenza, 2007. 6(3): p. 131-144 (Italian).
  • 4. Zappa, L.E., Caslini, M., and Clerici, M. (cur.), Le parole senza voce: Il Disturbo alessitimico tra i disturbi del comportamento alimentare e dipendenze [The voiceless words: The alexithymic disorder among the eating disorders and addictions], Milano: Franco Angeli. 2011 (Italian).
  • 5. Peasley-Miklus, C.E., Panayiotou, G., and Vrana, S.R., Alexithymia predicts arousal-based processing deficits and discordance between emotion response systems during emotional imagery. Emotion, 2016. 16(2): p. 164–174.
  • 6. Pellerone, M., Tolini, G., and Polopoli, C., Parenting, identity development, internalizing symptomps and alcohol use. A cross.sectional study in a group of Italian adolscents. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 2016. 12: p. 1769–1778
  • 7. Pellerone, M., Ramaci, T., Parrello, S., Guariglia, P., and Giaimo, F., Psychometric properties and validation of the Italian version of the Family Assessment Measure Third Edition – Short Version - in a nonclinical sample. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 2017a. 10: p. 69-77.
  • 8. Taylor, G. J. Recent developments in alexithymia theory and research. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 2000. 45(2): p. 134-142.
  • 9. Pellerone, M., Iacolino , C., Mannino, G., Formica, I., and Zabbara, S., The influence of parenting on maladaptive cognitive schema: a cross-sectional research on a group of adults. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 2017b. 10: p. 47-58.
  • 10. Baumrind, D., The influence of parenting style on adolescent competence and substance use. Journal od Early Adolescence, 1991. 11(1): p. 56-95.
  • 11. Maccoby E.E., and Martin J. A., Socialization in the context of the family: parent-child interaction. In P. H. Mussen & E. M. Hetherington (cur.), Handbook of Child Psychology: Vol. 4. Socialization, Personality, and Social Development., New York: Wiley. 1983. p. 1-101
  • 12. Pellerone, M., Ramaci, T., Lopez, M. H., and Craparo, G., The Role of Identity Development and Decision Making Process on Adult Attachment: A Cross-national Study in Sicilian and Andalusian Adolescents. Clinical Neuropsychiatry, 2017c. p. 141-150
  • 13. Pellerone, M., Formica, I., Lopez, M. H., Migliorisi, S., and Granà, R., Relationship between parenting, alexithymia and adult attachment styles: a cross-national study in Sicilian and Andalusian young adults. Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2017d. 5(2).
  • 14. Madjar, N., Voltsis, M., and Weinstock, M. P., The roles of perceived parental expectation and criticism in adolescents’ multidimensional perfectionism and achievement goals. Educational Psychology, 2015. 35(6): p. 765-778.
  • 15. Narusyte, J., Neiderhiser, J. M., Andershed, A. K., D'Onofrio, B. M., Reiss, D., Spotts, E., and Lichtenstein, P., Parental criticism and externalizing behavior problems in adolescents: The role of environment and genotype–environment correlation. Journal of abnormal psychology, 2011. 120(2): p. 365.
  • 16. Ammerman, B. A., and Brown, S., The mediating role of self-criticism in the relationship between parental expressed emotion and NSSI. Current Psychology, 2018. 37(19): p. 325-333.
  • 17. Hooley, J. M., and Teasdale, J. D., Predictors of relapse in unipolar depressives: Expressed emotion, marital distress, and perceived criticism. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1989. 98(3): p. 229–235. 18. Peters, S., Calam, R., and Harrington, R., Maternal attributions and expressed emotion as predictors of attendance at parent management training. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, 2005. 46(4): p. 436-448.
  • 19. Butzlaff, R., and Hooley, J.M., Expressed emotion and psychiatric relapse: a meta-analysis. Archives of general psychiatry, 1998. 55(6): p. 547-552.
  • 20. Gilboa-Schechtman, E., Avnon, L., Zubery, E., and Jeczmien, P., Emotional processing in eating disorders: specific impaiment or general distress related defiency?. Depression & Anxiety, 2006. 23(6): p. 331-339.
  • 21. Zonnevijlle-Bendek, M., Van Goozen, S.H., Cohen-Kettenis, P.T., Van Elburg, A., and Van Engeland, H., Do adolescent anorexia nervosa patients have deficits in emotional functioning?. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2002. 11(1): p. 38-42.
  • 22. Zonnevylle-Bender, M.J.S., Van Goozen, S.H.M., Cohen-Kettenis, P.T., Van Elburg, A., De Wildt, M., Stevelmans, E., and Van Engeland, H., Emotional functioning in anorexia nervosa patients: Adolescents compared to adults. Depression and Anxiety, 2004. 19(1): p. 35-42.
  • 23. Zonnevylle-Bender, M.J., Van Goozen, S.H., Cohen-Kettenis, P.T., Van Elburg, T.A., and Van Engeland, H., Emotional functioning in adolescent anorexia nervosa patients: A controlled study. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2004. 13(1): p. 28-34.
  • 24. Montebarocci, O., Codispoti, M., Surcinelli, P., Franzoni, E., Baldaro, B., and Rossi, N., Alexithymia in female patiens with eating disorders. Eating and weight disorders, 2006. 11(1): p. 14-21.
  • 25. De León-Vázquez, C. D., Villalobos-Hernández, A., Rivera-Márquez, J. A., & Unikel-Santoncini, C. (2019). Effect of parental criticism on disordered eating behaviors in male and female university students in Mexico City. Eating and Weight Disorders-Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, 24(5), 853-860.
  • 26. Schwartz, O. S., Dudgeon, P., Sheeber, L. B., Yap, M. B., Simmons, J. G., & Allen, N. B. (2012). Parental behaviors during family interactions predict changes in depression and anxiety symptoms during adolescence. Journal of abnormal child psychology, 40(1), 59-71.
  • 27. Martinelli, M., Chasson, G. S., Wetterneck, C. T., Hart, J. M., and Björgvinsson, T., Perfectionism dimensions as predictors of symptom dimensions of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 2014. 78(2): p. 140-159.
  • 28. Gibb, B.E., Childhood maltreatment and negative cognitive styles: a quantitative and qualitative review. Clinical psychology review, 2002. 22(2): p. 223-246.
  • 29. Brewin, C.R., Dalgleish, T. and Joseph, S., A dual representation theory of posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychological review, 1996. 103(4): p. 670.
  • 30. Apparigliato, M., Ruggiero, G.M., and Sassaroli, S., Il perceived criticism inventory (PCI): un nuovo strumento di valutazione del criticismo genitoriale [The perceived criticism inventory (PCI): a new tool for evaluating parental criticism]. Psicoterapia cognitiva e comportamentale, 2007. 13(3): p. 275-300.
  • 31. Breines, J.G., Crocker J., and Garcia J.A., Self-Objectification and Well-Being in Women's Daily Lives. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2008. 34(5): p. 583-98
  • 32. Keery, H., Van Den Berg, P., and Thompson, J.K., An evaluation of the tripartite influence model of body dissatisfaction and eating disturbance with adolescent girls. Body image, 2004. 1(3): p. 237- 251.
  • 33. Biolcati, R., Mancini, G., and Villano, P., ‘And yet I’m an adult now’. The influence of parental criticism on women’s body satisfaction/dissatisfaction during emerging adulthood. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 2020. 25(1): p. 599-608.
  • 34. Szalai, T.D., Czeglédi, E., Vargha, A. and Grezsa, F., Parental attachment and body satisfaction in adolescents. Journal of child and family studies, 2017. 26(4): p. 1007-1017
  • 35. Baumrind, D. Effects of authoritative parental control on child behavior. Child development, 1966. p. 887-907.
  • 36. TAYLOR, Graeme J.; BAGBY, R. Michael. An overview of the alexithymia construct. 2000.
  • 37. Aust, S., Härtwig, E. A., Heuser, I., & Bajbouj, M. (2013). The role of early emotional neglect in alexithymia. Psychological trauma: theory, research, practice, and policy, 5(3), 225.
  • 38. Hussain, S. and Ahmed, Z. Parental acceptance-rejection as predictor of alexithymia among students in Gilgitpaskistan. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 2014. 4(3): p. 285- 288.
  • 39. Wearden, A. J., Lamberton, N., Crook, N., and Walsh, V., Adult attachment, alexithymia, and symptom reporting: An extension to the four category model of attachment. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 2005. 58(3): p. 279-288.
  • 40. Parker, G., Tupling, H., and Brown, L.B., A parental bonding instrument. British journal of medical psychology, 1979. 52(1): p. 1-10.
  • 41. Parker, J.D., Bagby, M.R., Taylor, G. J., Endler, N. S., and Schmitz, P., Factorial validity of the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale. European Journal of personality, 1993. 7(4): p. 221-232.
  • 42. Sassaroli, S., Apparigliato, M., Bertelli, S., Boccalari, L., Fiore, F., Lamela, C., ... & Ruggiero, G. M., Perfectionism as a mediator between perceived criticism and eating disorders. Eating and Weight Disorders-Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, 2011. 16(1), 37-44.
  • 43. Reas, D.L., Whisenhunt, B.L., Netemeyer, R., and Williamson, D.A., Development of the body checking questionnaire: A self-report measure of body checking behaviors. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 2002. 31(3): p. 324-333.
  • 44. Bressi, C., Taylor, G., Parker, J., Bressi, S., Brambilla, V., Aguglia, E., Allegranti, I., Bongiorno, A., Giberti, F., Bucca, M., Todarello, O., Callegari, C., Vender, S., Gala, C., and Invernizzi, G., Cross validation of the factor structure of the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale: an Italian multicenter study. Journal of psychosomatic research, 1996. 41(6): p. 551-559
  • 45. Van Furth, E.F., Van Strien D.C., Martina, L.M., Van Son J.M., Hendrickx J.P. and Van Engeland H., Expressed emotion and the prediction of outcome in adolescent eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 1996. 20: p. 19-31.