Alexithymia in PTSD psychometric and FMRI studies
ABSTRACT Two studies examined correlates of alexithymia in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In study 1 (n = 77 individuals with PTSD and 45 controls) Toronto alexithymia scale (TAS-20) scores were positively correlated with PTSD symptoms, dissociation, and childhood abuse and neglect. In study 2, TAS-20 scores were examined as correlates of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) response to trauma script imagery. In 16 controls, TAS-20 scores correlated positively with response in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and negatively with response in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and thalamus. In 26 individuals with PTSD, TAS-20 scores correlated positively with response in insula, posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), and thalamus, and negatively with response in ACC.
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ABSTRACT: Previous studies have indicated that alexithymia is associated with the availability of serotonin in the brain and with the insecure attachment orientation. Inspired by the finding that the receptor 5-HT1A modulates the level of serotonin in the brain, this study investigated to what extent a polymorphism (C-1019G, rs6295) of 5-HT1A gene modulates individuals’ alexithymic characteristics and attachment orientation in 504 Chinese Han people. Results showed significantly higher total scores on the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) for individuals carrying the CG/GG genotype than for individuals carrying the CC genotype. Specifically, individuals with the CG/GG genotype reported greater difficulty in identifying own feelings than individuals with the CC genotype. Results also showed that individuals carrying the CG/GG genotype seemed to be less comfortable with having close relationships to others than individuals with the CC genotype. These findings provide the first evidence for the link between 5-HT1A and the development of alexithymic characteristics and attachment orientation.Psychoneuroendocrinology 09/2014; 50:274–279. DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.09.001 · 5.59 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Alexithymia is a dimensional personality construct that encompasses a cluster of cognitive and affective characteristics relating to difficulty identifying and describing feelings, limited imaginal capacity, and having an externally oriented thinking style. Attempts to explain the etiology of high levels of alexithymia have resulted in disagreements regarding the relationship between alexithymia and psychological defense mechanisms. Much of the previous research suggests strong associations between alexithymia and immature or maladaptive defense styles. To examine these relationships using correlations, multiple regression and factor analytic techniques, three nonclinical populations in Australia and Canada were studied with a view to evaluating the association of defense mechanisms and response styles with alexithymia. Our results support the association of alexithymia with emotional inhibition, but extend those associations to immature defense styles and aspects of social desirability.Journal of Clinical Psychology 03/2008; 64(3):318-31. DOI:10.1002/jclp.20461 · 2.12 Impact Factor