The impact of alexithymia on initial interactions

Colin Hesse, Kory Floyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study proposed several hypotheses predicting a deficit in the ability of alexithymic individuals to present themselves as attractive to a relational partner during an initial interaction. Both alexithymic and nonalexithymic individuals participated in a 10-min interpersonal exercise with a stranger of the opposite gender. Relational partners were more attracted to nonalexithymics than alexithymics. Partners perceived higher levels of several relational messages from nonalexithymics than alexithymics and lower levels of formality and dominance. Finally, the relational message of intimacy fully mediated the relationship between group membership (alexithymic or nonalexithymic) and social attraction. The authors suggest several implications and directions for future research, such as the need to include psychological traits in theoretical examinations of communication competence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-470
Number of pages18
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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