Principal Investigator Name:Flora Hammond
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This site-specific study is aimed at improving awareness of one's emotions after TBI in the hopes of improving emotional control and decrease problems with anxiety, anger, irritability, and aggression. Reduced emotion control is a common and often chronic problem after TBI. Although impaired emotion control is a multifaceted problem, one key component identified in the research is alexithymia. Alexithymia is characterized by poor emotional awareness, difficulty describing and differentiating emotions, and problems acknowledging and associating physical sensations with emotions. Post-TBI alexithymia is a frequent problem (30-61%) and has been associated with poor emotional control, anxiety, depression, anger and aggression. The rationale is that one must be able to recognize self-emotions before regulation can occur, and disruption of the former (alexithymia) disrupts the latter. We developed the first structured alexithymia intervention to teach people with TBI the fundamental awareness needed to regulate self-emotions. Feasibility testing showed reduced alexithymia, and post-intervention improvements in emotion regulation, anxiety, and anger. This project entails a phase II (efficacy) assessment of this alexithymia intervention via a randomized, wait-list controlled trial with 3-month follow-up.