A Comparative Study on Alexithymia in Depressive, Somatoform, Anxiety, and Psychotic Disorders among Koreans

Abstract

OBJECTIVE Little is known about the characteristic differences in alexithymic construct in various psychiatric disorders because of a paucity of direct comparisons between psychiatric disorders. Therefore, this study explored disorder-related differences in alexithymic characteristics among Korean patients diagnosed with four major psychiatric disorders (n=388). METHODS Alexithymic tendencies, as measured by the Korean version of the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20K), of patients classified into four groups according to major psychiatric diagnosis were compared. The groups consisted of patients with depressive disorders (DP; n=125), somatoform disorders (SM; n=78), anxiety disorders (AX; n=117), and psychotic disorders (PS; n=68). RESULTS We found that substantial portions of patients in all groups were classified as having alexithymia and no statistical intergroup differences emerged (42.4%, 35.9%, 35.3%, and 33.3% for DP, SM, PS, and AX). However, patients with DP obtained higher scores in factor 2 (difficulties describing feelings) than those with SM or AX, after adjusting for demographic variables. CONCLUSION These findings suggest that alexithymia might be associated with a higher vulnerability to depressive disorders and factor 2 of TAS-20K could be a discriminating feature of depressive disorders.

DOI: 10.4306/pi.2012.9.4.325

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@inproceedings{Son2012ACS, title={A Comparative Study on Alexithymia in Depressive, Somatoform, Anxiety, and Psychotic Disorders among Koreans}, author={Sung hwa Son and Hyunyoung Jo and Hyo Deog Rim and Ju Hee Kim and Hea Won Kim and Geum Ye Bae and Seung Jae Lee}, booktitle={Psychiatry investigation}, year={2012} }