Alexithymia among Vietnam veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.J Clin Psychiatry. 1990 Jun; 51(6):243-7.JC
The authors studied 227 inpatients from a large Veterans Administration Medical Center to evaluate whether alexithymia is associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to assess the validity of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) alexithymia scale. Three groups--a carefully diagnosed PTSD group (N = 76), an alcohol abuse group (N = 76), and a general psychiatric group (N = 75)--were given a battery of psychological tests, including the MMPI, the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory, and the Beck Depression Inventory, along with several cognitive measures. PTSD veterans were also evaluated on psychophysiologic indices (including a stressor) and on their subjective ratings to these indices. Results showed that alexithymia was more characteristic of PTSD patients than of the other groups. Also, alexithymia was inversely related to heart rate. Alexithymia was not significantly correlated with the subjective experience of stressors. The authors discuss the importance of the construct of alexithymia among PTSD patients and recommend the use of the alexithymia scale for these patients. The independence of this measure from the psychophysiologic condition of hyperarousal and the subjective experience of this state were also addressed.