Alexithymia and Personality in Relation to Dimensions of Psychopathology

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Abstract

Objective

The authors examined the capacity of alexithymia to predict a broad range of psychiatric symptoms relative to that of other personality dimensions, age, and gender.

Method

The Toronto Alexithymia Scale, the Temperament and Character Inventory, and the SCL-90-R were administered to 254 psychiatric patients. Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed.

Results

The difficulties identifying feelings factor of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale significantly predicted all SCL-90-R subscale scores and was particularly effective, relative to the personality dimensions of the Temperament and Character Inventory, in predicting somatization. The Temperament and Character Inventory dimensions emerged as distinct and conceptually meaningful predictors for the different SCL-90-R subscales.

Conclusions

A broad range of current psychopathology is associated with difficulties in cognitively processing emotional perceptions. Further research needs to clarify whether alexithymia represents a risk factor for mental illness and poorer outcome.

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