Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


Examining Alexithymia in Affective Events Theory

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Margaret Brooks (Advisor)

Second Advisor

George Bullerjahn (Other)

Third Advisor

William O'Brien (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Michael Zickar (Committee Member)


Personality constructs are often used in organizational psychology as predictors of job performance, job satisfaction, and other important outcomes. Alexithymia is a personality trait which has received very little attention in the organizational literature, but may also be a useful predictor of these outcomes. Alexithymia describes the relative inability to think about, identify, and express emotions. This trait is integrated with Affective Events Theory in order to explore whether it affects emotions and other outcomes. Through two studies from distinct samples, the role of alexithymia as a moderating variable is tested. In addition, the incremental predictive validity of alexithymia above and beyond the five-factor model of personality is examined. The results indicate that alexithymia may act as a moderator of some emotional experiences at work, but primarily seems to affect outcomes for college students. Alexithymia significantly incrementally predicts variance in several outcomes for students and employees and may be especially useful for predicting contextual performance. Implications for future research and practice involving alexithymia are discussed.