Evidence of Contrasting Patterns for Suppression and Reappraisal Emotion Regulation Strategies in Alexithymia

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Alexithymia generally refers to difficulties in identifying and describing emotions. In this paper, two studies explored whether the emotion deficits observed in alexithymia may be related to the use of emotion regulation strategies. Relations with various sociodemographic variables were also explored. In the first study, 255 students completed the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale–20. For the second study, 1107 participants from the general population completed the ERQ and the Bermond-Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire. Results demonstrated that alexithymia was related to the use of a suppression strategy and in particular to difficulties verbalizing emotions, suggesting that the capacity to communicate and name one's emotion is a central aspect in alexithymia. Concerning sociodemographic variables, alexithymia and the use of a suppression strategy were found to be related to age and to be higher in males. The results of these studies and their clinical implications for treatment are discussed.

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