[The relationship between the dimensions of alexithymia and the intensity of depression and anxiety].Turk Psikiyatri Derg. 2007 Winter; 18(4):333-43.TP
The aim of the present study was to underline the multidimensional nature of alexithymia, and to examine the relationship between these dimensions and the intensity of depression and anxiety symptoms.
The study included 145 undergraduate students that were administered 4 self-report instruments, including the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS).
In accordance with the aim of the study, due to the increased number of items and relative strength of the psychometric characteristics of the subscales, the 26-item version of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-26) was used. Following the factor analysis run for TAS, 3 dimensions with high internal consistency coefficients were obtained: 1. Difficulty in communicating feelings; 2. Difficulty in recognizing and identifying feelings; 3. Lacking in imaginative capacity. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that the intensity of depressive symptoms was only related to an increase in the difficulty in communicating feelings; on the other hand the intensity of anxiety symptoms was related to an increase in difficulty in recognizing and identifying feelings and also conversely to depression symptoms, the intensity of anxiety symptoms was found to be related a decrease in the difficulty in communicating feelings dimension of alexithymia.
This study not only addressed the multidimensional nature of alexithymia, but also suggests further studies to consider alexithymia as a discriminating factor between depression and anxiety symptoms. According to the study, while people who have intensive depressive symptoms have difficulty in communicating their feelings, people who have anxiety symptoms tend to communicate more their feelings. In addition, the intensity of anxiety is positively related to difficulty in recognizing and identifying feelings. Another words, anxious people tend to have difficulty in recognizing and identifying their feelings. These findings of the study are discussed in light of the literature.