Objectives: To explore relationship quality and satisfaction in couples following traumatic brain injury (TBI), obtaining the perspective of both patients with TBI and their noninjured partner; to examine the impact of alexithymia on ratings of relationship quality and satisfaction following TBI.
Participants: A total of 47 patients with TBI and their noninjured partners.
Measures: Twenty-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale; Index of Marital Satisfaction; and Dyadic Adjustment Scale.
Results: Significant differences emerged between patients with TBI and their noninjured partners on measures of relationship quality and satisfaction, with patients reporting significantly fewer relationship problems and greater levels of overall relationship satisfaction. In contrast, the noninjured partners of patients with TBI and acquired alexithymia reported significantly lower ratings of overall relationship quality, adjustment, consensus, and cohesion.
Conclusion: The presence of alexithymia in persons with TBI is an important factor affecting relationship quality and satisfaction. Future research should continue to explore the impact of emotional deficit disorders following TBI on the quality of relationships following injury and, in turn, the risk of relationship breakdown.