Relationships between Alexithymia, Emotional Control, and Quality of Life in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Abstract

Background:

Although the constructs of alexithymia and emotional control have been associated with physical health, the relationship between these constructs is unclear and their influence on health-related quality of life has not been investigated previously. This study examined the relationships between alexithymia, emotional control, and quality of life in 74 patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Methods:

The subjects completed the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), the Emotional Expression and Control Scale (EEC), and the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ) for assessing quality of life.

Results:

The TAS-20 correlated negatively and significantly with the IBDQ global score and with subscales assessing bowel symptoms, systemic symptoms, and emotional functioning; the emotional control subscale of the EEC correlated positively and significantly with these measures. Although the TAS-20 correlated significantly and negatively with the emotional control subscale, alexithymia and quality of life scores were unrelated to subscales of the EEC assessing tendencies to either hold back or express emotions. A hierarchical stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that alexithymia and, to a lesser extent, emotional control play a role in predicting quality of life in patients with IBD.

Conclusions:

Alexithymia and emotional control are negatively related constructs and each construct has an independent influence on the subjective health status of patients with IBD.

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