Emotional Awareness and Internalizing Problems: A Preliminary Test of State and Trait Associations among Adolescents
Yasaman Ghafaryan shiraziContact / Kontakt / Kapcsolat, Jallu Lindblom, Raija-Leena Punamäki, Marianna Yli-Peltola & Kirsi Peltonen
EJMH Vol 18, e0007 (2023) 1-12; https://doi.org/10.5708/EJMH.18.2023.0007
Received: 12 January 2022; Accepted: 27 February 2023; Online: 26 May 2023
Section: Research Papers
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Introduction: Difficulties in emotional awareness (EA) are often linked to the risk of internalizing problems (IP). Most empirical studies have found this association but have not considered possible state- and trait-related fluctuations in EA and IP assessments.

Aims: We tested the directionality of the state-level associations, that is, whether EA at Time 1 predicts IP at Time 2 or the other way around. In line with previous research, we hypothesized that low EA would predict a subsequent increase in IP, as difficulties in emotional awareness dispose one to emotional problems. As an alternative model, we tested the trait-level associations between EA and IP. We hypothesized that a negative latent correlation exists between EA and IP, as common factors may cause them to be associated at the trait level.

Methods: Participants were 68 students who completed the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale and the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire at two-time points with a one-month interval. We used the Cross-lagged Panel Model to test the state-level associations and structural equation modeling to test trait-level effects. Results: Results displayed no directional effect of EA on IP, and neither did IP predict EA within one month. However, we found a trait-level correlation between EA and IP. We discuss the preliminary results between state and trait level EA and IP in the context of the early developmental environment.

Conclusions: This study is a preliminary test of state- and trait-level associations between EA and IP, which could be valuable for practitioners and clinicians.


levels of emotional awareness, internalizing problems, state-trait differences, early developmental environment

Corresponding author

Yasaman Ghafaryan shirazi
Faculty of Social Sciences/Psychology, University of Tampere, Finland



Jallu Lindblom
Faculty of Social Sciences/Psychology, University of Tampere, Finland

Raija-Leena Punamäki
Faculty of Social Sciences/Psychology, University of Tampere, Finland

Marianna Yli-Peltola
Mehiläinen Oy/Working Life Services, City of Pori, Finland

Kirsi Peltonen
Research Centre for Child Psychiatry, University of Turku, Finland

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