Relationships between the emotional and cognitive components of alexythymia and PTSD in victims of domestic violence
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Psychiatr Pol 2007;41(6):851–862
Aim. Alexythymia has been reported in various psychiatric disorders, also in post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD). The 20-item Toronto Alexythymia Scale (TAS-20) measures three inter-correlated dimensions of alexythymia: 1. difficulties in identifying feelings, 2. difficulties in describing feelings, 3. externally oriented thinking. The aim of the study was to assess the correlation between factors of TAS-20 and intensification of PTSD symptoms. Method. Presence and a degree of alexythymia were estimated using three factorial 20point self-assessment Toronto Alexythymia Scale. Diagnosis and a degree of intensification of PTSD was based on C.G. Watson's et al. PTSD-I. The study group consisted of 30 women who have experienced domestic violence. Women were residents of hostels for victims of domestic violence or residents of the Lonely Mother House. Results. There was a significant correlation between factor 2 (difficulties describing feelings) scores of TAS-20 and intensification of PTSD (correlation is significant at the 0.05 level, Spearman's correlation coefficient 0.383, p = 0.037). There was no significant relationship between the scores of PTSD-I and the scores of sub-factors I and 3. The results emphasize, in addition to the TAS-20 total score, the three sub-factors providing information about whether cognitive and/or affective aspects of alexythymia are associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. Conclusion. The most significant factor determining occurrence of PTSD symptoms in the study group of women who have experienced domestic violence was a difficulty in verbalising emotions.