In an article published in Psychoanalytic Psychology, Schimmenti (2017) reported an empirical study whose results were interpreted as supporting the trauma model of dissociation and suggested that alexithymia and deficits in theory of mind might mediate the relation between emotional neglect and dissociation. Although interesting and thought provoking, that study also had methodological and conceptual limits, which leave open the possibility that other conclusions could be drawn from the data. In this commentary, we point out the conceptual and methodological issues that should be taken into consideration when interpreting Schimmenti's (2017) findings; argue that alternative explanations are equally defensible; and propose an alternative (or complementary) model to understand the connections among inadequate parenting, dissociation, and mentalizing (i.e., theory of mind and alexithymia). Finally, we report the results of a reanalysis from the original correlation matrix to demonstrate some evidence in support of the proposed alternative model using Structural Equation Modeling. Clinical implications are then briefly discussed.
- emotional neglect