Alexithymia and Attachment Representation in Idiopathic Spasmodic Torticollis

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We investigated alexithymia and the mental representation of attachment in idiopathic spasmodic torticollis (IST). It was hypothesized a) that alexithymia in IST is more prevalent than in a nonclinical control group and b) that significant correlations emerge between alexithymia and a dismissing attachment representation. Twenty patients with IST and 20 healthy controls matched for age and sex were administered the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). Attachment was classified using the Attachment Interview Q-sort. IST patients scored significantly higher on the measure of alexithymia than subjects in the comparison group. In IST a dismissing attachment representation was significantly more frequent than in the control group. Across the total sample, externally oriented thinking correlated positively with dismissing attachment, and both externally oriented thinking and difficulty communicating feelings (two of the three subscales of the TAS-20) correlated inversely with secure attachment. Alexithymia is more prevalent in IST than in normals. As was hypothesized, alexithymia in adults is significantly interrelated with the mental representation of attachment.

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