Background: The study investigated the following hypotheses: (1) Alexithymia is significantly associated with dissociation. (2) Pathological versus nonpathological dissociation is associated with alexithymic traits. Methods: Psychiatric in- and outpatients (n = 173) and nonclinical subjects (n = 38) were investigated with the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), the FDS (German version of Dissociation Experience Scale) and the Symptom Check List (SCL-90-R; GSI). Correlation analyses followed by MANOVA and logistic regression were performed. Results: Significant correlations and partial correlations, controlling for GSI, were observed between dissociation and alexithymia. The MANOVA demonstrated significantly higher scores for the two TAS-20 dimensions ‘difficulty identifying feelings’ and ‘difficulty expressing feelings’ in the group with pathological dissociation. On the basis of the TAS-20 subscores, logistic regression analysis correctly classified 72.5% of the cases into the pathological and the nonpathological dissociation group. Conclusions: These results support our hypothesis that pathological traits of dissociation are highly associated with alexithymia. A model is discussed in which alexithymic characteristics may contribute to the development of pathological dissociation and stress-related disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder.
Department of Psychiatry, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University of Greifswald
Klinikum der Hansestadt Stralsund, Rostocker Chaussee 70
D–18437 Stralsund (Germany)
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Number of Print Pages : 4
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 2, Number of References : 34
Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics
Founded 1953 as ‘Acta Psychotherapeutica et Psychosomatica’ by E.A.D.E. Carp and B. Stokvis, continued by Th. Spoerri (1964–1974) and P.E. Sifneos (1974–1991)
Vol. 69, No. 3, Year 2000 (Cover Date: May-June 2000)
Journal Editor: G.A. Fava, Bologna
ISSN: 0033–3190 (print), 1423–0348 (Online)
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