Article

Alexithymia, emotion, and somatic complaints.

Department of Psychology, Stockholm University.
Journal of Personality (Impact Factor: 2.44). 07/2001; 69(3):483-510.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Alexithymia, by definition, involves difficulties in identifying and describing emotions and has been assumed to be associated with somatization (i.e., a tendency to express psychological distress in somatic rather than emotional form). Empirical research so far, however, has produced no convincing evidence that alexithymia is more associated with somatic complaints than with emotional complaints or that alexithymia correlates with somatic complaints when negative affect is controlled for. In the present study, alexithymia, as measured by the TAS-20, showed no association with somatic complaints in a community sample of 137 individuals when trait anxiety and depression were controlled. Alexithymia did correlate negatively with positive affect, and positively with negative affect. The former association, however, was much more robust, whereas the latter association was found mainly on subjective trait measures of negative affect (as distinct from state measures and more objective trait measures derived from daily recordings during an 8-week period). It is suggested that the association between alexithymia and lack of positive affect deserves more attention in future research.

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