Alexithymia and emotional awareness in anorexia nervosa: time for a shift in the measurement of the concept?
2010 (English)In: Eating Behaviors, ISSN 1471-0153, E-ISSN 1873-7358, Vol. 11, no 4, 205-210 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The present study compared 35 patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) with an age matched control group using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20; a self-report instrument) and the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale (LEAS; a performance-based instrument). Depression and anxiety have been shown to account for elevated levels of alexithymia in AN, and an elevated level of perfectionism might affect self-reporting in general. The AN-group reported a higher level of alexithymia on the TAS-20 compared to the control group, a difference that disappeared after controlling for depression or anxiety (but not for perfectionism). The findings suggest that the AN-patients believe that they have difficulties in identifying and reporting emotions, but actually perform as well as the control group when confronted with the task of identifying and reporting their emotions according to LEAS. It might be time to rethink the measurement of alexithymia. Maybe, similar to assessment of personality disorders, it should not be assessed when patients are depressed, or it should be assessed through instruments and modalities that are not sensitive to the mood state of the patient.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 11, no 4, 205-210 p.
Alexithymia, Emotional awareness, Anorexia nervosa, Anxiety, Depression, Perfectionism
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-133742DOI: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2010.04.001ISI: 000283484700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-133742DiVA: diva2:370484