Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the capacity of
alexithymia to predict psychiatric symptoms relative to other
personality dimensions and age.
Method: Participants were 176 consecutively admitted male alcohol
dependent inpatients who were administered the Toronto
Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), Temperament and Character Inventory
(TCI), and the Symptom Checklist-Revised (SCL-90-R).
Results: Fifty three patients (30.1%) had alexithymia. Means of
subscales of SCL-90 and the global severity index were higher among
those with alexithymia than those without. The difficulty in identifying
feelings factor of the TAS-20 significantly predicted all SCL-90-R
subscale scores, whereas none of the SCL-90-R subscales were
predicted by difficulties describing feelings or externally orientated
thinking. The TCI dimensions emerged as distinct and conceptually
meaningful predictors for the different SCL-90-R subscales.
Somatization measured by subscale of SCL-90 was not as strongly
predictable by difficulty in identifying feelings factor in alcohol
dependents as was in general psychiatric patients.
Conclusions: The present study supported the hypothesis that a current
psychopathology is associated with difficulties in cognitively processing
emotional perceptions among alcohol dependent inpatients. Since this
was a study of cross-sectional design, the question of whether
alexithymia represents a risk factor for psychopathology among
alcohol dependent inpatients requires further evaluation.
Alcohol dependence, anxiety, character, depression,