The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of resilience, alexithymia and the subjectively perceived severity (fear of death, pain intensity, helplessness) of myocardial infarction (MI) on posttraumatic symptom severity (PTSS) after MI. Patients were assessed with the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS), Resilience Scale (RS-11) and Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). Subjectively perceived severity of MI was measured with three items on a 10-point Likert scale. To test our hypothesis, we applied Pearson correlations as well as multiple hierarchical linear regression analyses. A higher resilience score was significantly associated with lower (r = − .39, p < .001) PTSS. Higher scores of alexithymia (r = .38, p < .01) and subjectively perceived helplessness (r = .42, p < .001) were associated with higher PTSS. Multiple hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed that resilience, the TAS-20 subscale difficulty identifying feelings (DIF) and especially subjectively perceived helplessness were independent significant predictors for the PTSS, adjusted R2 = .29, F(5, 102) = 9.57, p < .001. Our results suggest that resilience reduces the PTSS whereas alexithymia and subjectively perceived helplessness increase the risk. Especially the subjectively perceived helplessness explains a high degree of variance of PTSS and should be assessed to hindering further mental health burden.