Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 249–261 | Cite as

Posttraumatic Stress and Interpersonal Sensitivity: Alexithymia as Mediator and Emotional Expressivity as Moderator

  • Gulnara Kobylanovna Slanbekova
  • Man Cheung ChungEmail author
  • Baizhol Iskakovich Karipbaev
  • Raikhan Shaikhishevna Sabirova
  • Roza Togayevna Alimbayeva
Original Paper


This study examined 1) the link between PTSD from past trauma, interpersonal sensitivity and psychiatric co-morbidity, 2) mediational effects of alexithymia on 1), and 3) moderated mediational effects with emotional expressivity as the moderator. Five hundred and fifteen Kazakh students completed the Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale, General Health Questionnaire-28, Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20, Berkeley Expressivity Questionnaire and Interpersonal Sensitivity Measure. The results showed that 28% met the criteria for full-PTSD. Controlling for academic year, age and university major, PTSD from past trauma was significantly correlated with interpersonal sensitivity and psychiatric co-morbidity. Alexithymia mediated the impact of PTSD on interpersonal sensitivity and psychiatric co-morbidity. Alexithymia, however, did not interact with type of emotional expressivity to influence outcomes. Moderated mediational effects were not found. To conclude, following trauma, Kazakh students can experience heightened levels of interpersonal sensitivity and psychological symptoms. These problems are particularly severe for those who have difficulty getting in touch with their emotions.


PTSD Alexithymia Interpersonal sensitivity Emotional expressivity 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gulnara Kobylanovna Slanbekova
    • 1
  • Man Cheung Chung
    • 2
    Email author
  • Baizhol Iskakovich Karipbaev
    • 1
  • Raikhan Shaikhishevna Sabirova
    • 1
  • Roza Togayevna Alimbayeva
    • 1
  1. 1.Karaganda State UniversityKaragandaKazakhstan
  2. 2.Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of EducationThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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