[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The authors' aim was to investigate the role of stressful events, perceived social support, attachment security, and alexithymia in triggering exacerbations of diffuse plaque psoriasis. Inpatients experiencing a recent exacerbation of diffuse plaque psoriasis (N=33) were compared with inpatients with skin conditions believed to have a negligible psychosomatic component (N=73). Stressful events during the last year were assessed with Paykel's Interview for Recent Life Events. Attachment style, alexithymia, and perceived social support were assessed with the Experiences in Close Relationships questionnaire, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, respectively. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to control for age, gender, education, marital status, and alcohol consumption. In relation to comparison subjects, the patients with psoriasis had lower perceived social support and higher attachment-related avoidance. Also, they were more likely to have high alexithymic characteristics. There were no differences between the patients with psoriasis and the comparison subjects in scores on the Experiences in Close Relationships anxiety scale, the total number of stressful events, and the number of undesirable, uncontrollable, or major events. Although caution should be applied in generalizing these findings to outpatients, this study suggests that alexithymia, attachment-related avoidance, and poor social support might increase susceptibility to exacerbations of diffuse plaque psoriasis, possibly through impaired emotional regulation. Several physiological mechanisms involving the neuroendocrine and the immune system might mediate the interplay between stress, personality, and diffuse plaque psoriasis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the high prevalence of bipolar spectrum disorders, most instruments currently available for the assessment of depression do not explore symptoms of 'activation' such as anger, irritability, aggressiveness, hostility, and psychomotor activation.
Two samples of adults with unipolar depression were studied. They had no comorbid DSM-IV disorder, and they were free from antidepressant drugs. The first sample (n = 380) was assessed with the SVARAD, a validated scale for the rapid assessment of the main psychopathological dimensions. The second sample (n = 143) was assessed with the MMPI-2. Factor analysis was performed on SVARAD items and MMPI-2 clinical scales.
In both samples, we obtained a three-factor solution with factors interpreted as a depressive dimension, an anxious dimension, and an activation dimension. The latter dimension appeared to be clinically relevant in 20-27% of patients.
The presence of a comorbid disorder may have been missed in some cases. Also, some bipolar II patients might have been misdiagnosed as unipolar and included in the study. Further, our findings apply only to a selected psychiatric population, and it should be tested whether they generalize to other settings of care and other countries.
Our results suggest that depressive mixed states are not rare even in patients diagnosed as unipolar, and that some unipolar patients might actually be 'pseudounipolar' and belong to the bipolar spectrum. More in general, our findings suggest that some depressed patients have prominent symptoms of activation that can easily go unnoticed using instruments that do not explore such symptoms. Detecting these symptoms has important treatment implications.
Journal of Affective Disorders 03/2005; 84(2-3):133-9. · 3.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current psychiatric classification systems underestimate the part played by anger and aggressiveness in unipolar depression. This study was designed to assess the relevance of anger, irritability, aggressiveness, hostility, and psychomotor activation in major depressive disorder.
A total of 222 newly admitted consecutive outpatients with major depressive disorder (mean age 48.9 years, 64.4% females) were enrolled in the study. They had no comorbid axis I or II DSM-IV disorder, and they received no treatment with antidepressants in the preceding 2 months. They were assessed with the SVARAD, a validated scale for the rapid assessment of the main psychopathological dimensions. Principal component analysis was performed on SVARAD items.
We obtained a three-factor solution accounting for 47.4% of total variance. The factors were interpreted as 'anger/irritability', 'depression', and 'anxiety', respectively. The anger/irritability dimension was clinically relevant in 23% of patients. Anger/aggressiveness was especially frequent (21.6%), whereas psychomotor activation was infrequent (0.9%).
In depressive disorders, there are psychopathological dimensions other than depressed mood and anxiety that deserve greater clinical recognition and research. Our study suggests that one of these symptom clusters includes anger, irritability, aggressiveness, and hostility. The relevance of this dimension was not related to concurrent pharmacological treatment. Misdiagnosis of bipolar II disorder is also unlikely to explain our findings. Possibly, personality factors might at least partly explain the occurrence of anger and aggressiveness in several depressed patients. Attachment theory suggests that anger might also be conceived as part of the protest-despair-detachment reaction to a loss, either actual or symbolic.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the role of stressful events, social support, attachment security and alexithymia in triggering or exacerbating psoriasis.
Outpatients experiencing a recent onset or exacerbation of psoriasis (n=40) were compared with outpatients with skin conditions in which psychosomatic factors are regarded as negligible (n=116). Stressful events during the last year were assessed with Paykel's Interview for Recent Life Events. Attachment style, alexithymia and perceived social support were assessed with the ECR questionnaire, the TAS-20 and the MSPSS, respectively.
The mean number of recently experienced life events, or of undesirable, uncontrollable or major events was not different between psoriatic patients and controls. The only stress measure that showed a slight trend towards an association with psoriasis was having experienced four or more stressful events in the preceding year. There was a statistical trend towards an association between alexithymia and psoriasis, whereas there were no significant differences between patients with psoriasis and controls with respect to perceived social support and attachment security. Subgroup analysis suggested that the role of all psychosomatic factors studied might be more important in certain clinical types, such as guttate and diffuse plaque psoriasis.
Our findings provide only limited support for a role of psychosomatic factors in psoriasis. Future studies should investigate chronic and daily stressors in addition to major life events, include measures of stress appraisal and include specifically patients with a recent onset of disease.
Journal of Psychosomatic Research 10/2003; 55(3):189-96. · 2.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the onset of alopecia areata has often been anecdotally linked with emotional stress, findings from the few controlled studies have not been univocal. The authors compared outpatients experiencing a recent onset of alopecia areata (N=21) with outpatients affected by skin conditions commonly believed as having a low psychosomatic component (N=102). Participants were administered Paykel's Interview for Recent Life Events, the Experiences in Close Relationships scale, the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale, and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Multiple logistic regression was used to control for age and gender. The total number of recent life events (last 12 months) was not different between the alopecia patients and the comparison subjects. Also, the alopecia patients and the comparison subjects did not differ in terms of the number of undesirable or major events. The comparison subjects even experienced a greater number of uncontrollable events. Alopecia areata tended to be associated with high avoidance in attachment relationships, high alexithymic characteristics, and poor social support. The results suggest that personality characteristics might modulate individual susceptibility to alopecia areata.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Agreement on the factor structure of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) has not been consistent among studies, and some investigators argued that the scale's factor structure is not reliable. This study aimed at shedding more light on this debated issue.
We studied 186 adults with unipolar depression (Major Depressive Disorder, n=80; Dysthymic Disorder, n=71; Depressive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, n=25; Adjustment Disorder, n=10). They had no comorbid DSM-IV axis I or axis II disorders, and had received no treatment with antidepressant drugs in the previous 2 months. The factor structure of the scale was studied using the principal factor method, followed by oblique rotation. Factor scores were computed for each subject using the regression method.
Using the scree-test criterion for factor extraction, we obtained a four-factor solution, explaining 43.8% of total variance. The four factors extracted were identified as (1) somatic anxiety/somatization factor; (2) a psychic anxiety dimension; (3) a pure depressive dimension; and (4) anorexia factor. Patients with Major Depressive Disorder scored significantly higher than patients with other diagnoses on the pure depressive dimension.
These results need to be replicated in different cultures, using analogous factoring techniques.
Though not exhibiting factorial invariance in the stricter sense of the term, the 17-item HDRS did exhibit a relatively reliable factor structure. Our analysis provides further evidence that the scale is multidimensional. However, as long as the multidimensional character of the scale is taken into account the scale should be able to play a useful role in clinical research.
Journal of Affective Disorders 03/2002; 68(1):41-7. · 3.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Attachment and detachment processes, as defined by modern attachment theories, place them as integrative between innate and acquired behaviors, like a regulatory system for every close relationship. As a consequence, family attachment styles, which proceed-throughout development-together with personal identity construction processes, stress the notion of relationship as a dialectical and interactive process, defining the irreducible duality of human experience, in which the personal individuality construction is linked, since the earliest phases of life, to the significant relationships. Dysfunctional patterns of attachment and detachment and self-construction processes interact in defining personal organizations one can observe in psychopathological situations; some clinical examples are proposed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has often been suggested that stress might trigger vitiligo. However, only one study supported this hypothesis, and no study explored the role of other personality or social factors.
Out-patients experiencing a recent onset or exacerbation of vitiligo (n = 31) were compared with out-patients with skin conditions in which psychosomatic factors are commonly were regarded as negligible (n = 116). Stressful events during the last 12 months were assessed with Paykel's Interview for Recent Life Events. Attachment style, alexithymia and social support were assessed with the 'Experiences in Close Relationships' questionnaire, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, respectively.
Cases and controls did not differ regarding the total number of events and the number of undesirable, uncontrollable or major events. Three or more uncontrollable events had occurred more frequently among cases than controls. Perceived social support was lower in cases than in controls. Cases scored higher than controls on anxious attachment, tended towards higher scores on avoidant attachment and were classified more often as insecure. Cases scored higher than controls on the TAS-20 and were classified more often as alexithymic or borderline alexithymic. The occurrence of many uncontrollable events, alexithymia and anxious attachment were associated with vitiligo also in multiple logistic regression analysis.
These findings suggest that vulnerability to vitiligo is not increased by stressful events, except for many uncontrollable events. Alexithymia, insecure attachment and poor social support appear to increase susceptibility to vitiligo, possibly through deficits in emotion regulation or reduced ability to cope effectively with stress.
Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 72(3):150-8. · 9.37 Impact Factor