No words for feelings: alexithymia in schizophrenia patients and first-degree relatives

Mascha van 't Wout*, Andre Aleman, Bob Bermond, Rene S. Kahn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Alexithymia refers to difficulties in emotionalizing, fantasizing, verbalizing, identifying, and analyzing emotions. The goal of this study was to investigate features of alexithymia in patients with schizophrenia. In addition, we investigated if alexithymia would be associated with vulnerability to schizophrenia, by studying unaffected first-degree relatives of schizophrenia patients. Furthermore, sex differences were taken into account.

Method: Forty-three patients with schizophrenia, 32 unaffected siblings, and 44 healthy control subjects were compared on the Bermond-Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire.

Results: Results showed that male patients with schizophrenia, in particular, demonstrated a specific pattern of alexithymia, that is, difficulty identifying and verbalizing emotions, in the face of a higher subjective emotional arousal. Moreover, male siblings showed comparable problems in verbalizing their emotions as male patients.

Conclusions: We suggest that these difficulties in aspects underlying affect regulation could account for the deficits in social functioning observed in schizophrenia and could contribute to a greater vulnerability for schizophrenia, in particular, for males. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • EMOTION REGULATION
  • SEX-DIFFERENCES
  • PSYCHOSOMATIC PATIENTS
  • DAILY-LIFE
  • QUESTIONNAIRE
  • EXPERIENCE
  • VALIDITY
  • PERCEPTION
  • SYMPTOMS
  • SCALE

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