Understanding emotion regulation and humor styles in individuals with Callous-Unemotional traits and Alexithymic traits

Alison Chow Young, Melina Nicole Kyranides*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Alexithymia is a personality trait which is characterized by impairments in identifying and describing emotions. Both psychopathic and alexithymic personality traits have been associated with impairments in emotion processing. This study aims to clarify the conceptual overlap between psychopathic traits (focusing on callous-unemotional traits) and alexithymic traits, with emotion regulation strategies and humor styles using a community sample. A battery of self-report measures was distributed through an online platform to 538 male and female participants between the ages of 18 to 65. Hierarchal linear regression analyses demonstrated that emotion regulation strategies were the strongest predictors and accounted for the largest variance of callous-unemotional traits and alexithymic traits. More specifically, expressive suppression arose as a positive predictor while cognitive reappraisal arose as a negative predictor for both personality traits. Aggressive humor (maladaptive) arose as a positive predictor while self-defeating humor (maladaptive) and affiliative humor (adaptive) arose as negative predictors for callous-unemotional traits. In contrast, self-defeating humor arose as a positive predictor for alexithymic traits while affiliative humor and self-enhancing humor arose as negative predictors. Findings indicate that there are similarities and differences between these personality traits. The implications regarding tailoring interventions that target specific deficits associated with each personality trait are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-166
JournalThe Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • callous-unemotional traits
  • alexithymia
  • humor styles
  • emotion regulation


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