[The Alexithymia Questionnaire for Children (AQC): French translation and validation study in a convenience sample of 80 children].Encephale. 2010 Sep; 36(4):302-6.E
Alexithymia refers to a specific disturbance in psychic functioning characterized by a limited ability to identify and communicate one's feelings. Development of specific rating scales and notably the well-validated 20-item Toronto alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) have allowed the study of alexithymia in numerous samples of clinical or non-clinical subjects. Recently, Rieffe et al. [Pers and Individ Differ 40 (2006) 123-133] have developed an alexithymia questionnaire for children (AQC) basing on the TAS-20. The AQC comprised 20 items divided into three subscales: difficulty-identifying feelings (DIF), difficulty describing feelings (DDF) and externally-oriented thinking (EOT). Using a sample of 740 children and the Dutch version of the AQC the three-factor structure of alexithymia was found, using confirmatory factorial analysis, but the EOT factor showed low factor loadings and reliability.
The aim of the study was to present the French version of the AQC and to assess the psychometric properties of this version.
Eighty children recruited from a convenience sample were included in the study. There were 43 boys and 37 girls with a mean age of 11.81 (SD = 1.99, range: 9-16). The validity and the reliability of the AQC were studied using a confirmatory factorial analysis (CFA), the determination of the Cronbach alpha coefficient, and the calculation of the correlations between each item and the total score.
Adequation parameters of the CFA showed that the 3-factor solution of the AQC was adequate (χ 2/df = 1.27, RMSEA = .039) although the EOT factor had low factor loadings. The Cronbach alpha coefficient was 0.64 and 15 items had significant correlations with the total score.
The three-factor model of the AQC was reported for the French version of scale but the EOT factor had low validity. This result confirms the recent study using the Dutch version of the AQC. Moreover, several studies using foreign versions of the TAS-20 reported low reliability of the EOT factor. Thus, other studies are necessary to explore the reliability of the EOT factor of the French version of the AQC, and it's recommended to use only the total score of the AQC instead of the sub-scores.