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Anadolu Psikiyatri Derg. 2020; 21(6): 565-571

Is alexithymia a separate dimension in schizophrenia?

Mehmet Fatih Üstündağ, Hüseyin Güleç, Leman İnanç, Ergün Sevinç, Ümit Başar Semiz.

Objective: The aim of this research is to study the structural features of alexithymia dimension in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, the relation between alexithymia, depression and negative symptoms, which overlap in terms of schizophrenia clinical presentation, and to find out whether they differ from one another. Methods: The study has been conducted with 208 outpatients treated at the Outpatient Clinic of schizophrenia of the Erenköy Mental Health and Neurological Diseases Training and Research Hospital. Patients with schizophrenia were evaluated via the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, the Calgary Schizophrenia Depression Scale, the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) and 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). Findings: Alexithymia rate was found to be 36.7% in patients with schizophrenia. Alexithymia was found to be associated with negative symptoms and clini-cal variables. In the control group with A+ (alexithymic schizophrenia), the age of onset was earlier than in the A- (non-alexithymic schizophrenia) group and the average scores of the GAF were lower. Conclusion: In this study, Alexithymia in schizophrenia was found different from negative symptoms and depression in terms of dimension. TAS, which has three subscales, is factored into two subscales (difficulty identifying feelings (TAS-A) and difficulty describing feelings (TAS-B)) in patients with schizophrenia. Clinicians may use TAS-11, 14 versions or existing 20-item version for the assessment of alexithymia among schizophrenic patients. Assessment of alexithymia as a separate dimension has the potential to offer a new approach to understand the neurobiology and treatment of schizophrenia.

Key words: schizophrenia, alexithymia, depression, negative symptoms, factor structure

Article Language: Turkish English

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