Consciousness about own and others’ affects
Sammanfattning: It is essential for individuals’ well-being and relationships that they have the ability to consciously experience, express and respond to their own and others’ affects. The validity of a new conception of affect consciousness (AC), incorporating consciousness of both own and others’ affects, was investigated in this thesis. The clinical usefulness of the new conception was explored and an interview (affect consciousness interview – self/other; ACI-S/O) intended to capture this new definition was validated. In study I the interrater reliability and the concurrent validity of the ACI-S/O were assessed and found to be acceptable. There were significant differences in all variables of ACI-S/O between the four groups that participated in the study. Joy and interest had the highest ratings in all groups and guilt and shame had the lowest. By means of a factor analysis, two factors, labeled “general affect consciousness” and “consciousness about shame and guilt,” were obtained. General affect consciousness was related to different aspects of relational and emotional problems and possibly protection against them. In study II the clinical implications of AC were further explored in relation to eating disorders (ED). The level of AC in the ED group was compared with a comparable non-clinical group. The relation between AC and aspects of ED pathology were explored, as well as whether AC should be seen as a state or trait in patients diagnosed with ED. ACI-S/O was not significantly related to ED pathology or general psychological distress. There were no significant differences in AC between the different sub-diagnoses of ED but there were between the ED group and the non-clinical group. Significant pre-post correlations for both factors of ACI-S/O were found, indicating that AC could be seen as a stable dimension that might be important for ED pathology but is unrelated to ED symptoms. In study III the relationship between AC and self-reported attachment style (ASQ) was explored in a non-clinical group and three patient groups. There were significant correlations between all scores on ACI- S/O and the ASQ, with the exception of consciousness about guilt. Multiple regression analyses showed that AC, and especially others’ affects, contributed significantly to the ASQ subscales. AC and in particular own joy and others’ guilt and anger seem to be of importance for attachment style. In study IV the importance of AC for the treatment process was explored. Patients’ AC before therapy was significantly correlated with patients’ positive feelings towards their therapists but not with their alliance ratings. Patients’ warm and positive feelings were related to pre-therapy AC, whereas negative feelings were related to low alliance ratings in the previous sessions.
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