Alexithymia, Empathy, and Psychological Symptoms in a Family Context

Alexithymia, Empathy, and Psychological Symptoms in a Family Context

Alexithymia, Empathy, and Psychological Symptoms in a Family Context

Alexithymia, Empathy, and Psychological Symptoms in a Family Contexts

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Référence bibliographique [5324]

Guttman, Herta A. et Laporte, Lise. 2002. «Alexithymia, Empathy, and Psychological Symptoms in a Family Context ». Comprehensive Psychiatry, vol. 43, no 6, p. 448-455.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs

Intentions :
« The goals of this study are as follows: (1) to establish whether there are any correlations between sociodemographic variables and factors of the TAS-20; (2) to measure the level of alexithymia in members of three types of families using the TAS-20; (3) to study the association between empathy and alexithymia in the three types of families and to establish whether or not there is an inverse relationship between alexithymia and empathy; (4) to investigate certain psychological symptoms in all the participants; and (5) to identify the variables that could account for alexithymia in women with BPD [borderline personality disorder] or AN [anorexia nervosa], or in the control group. » (pp. 448-449)

2. Méthode

Échantillon/Matériau :
« Individual information was obtained from 35 women with BPD, 34 women with AN, and 33 women without clinical problems. Mothers and fathers of 21 women with BPD, 23 women with AN, and 25 women without any clinical problems were interviewed with same intruments. Therefore, there was a subsample of three-person families within each diagnostic group. » (p. 449)

Instruments :
- the Revised Diagnostic Interview for Borderlines (DIB-R);
- the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20);
- the Symptom Checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R).
Type de traitement des données :
Analyse statistique et analyse de contenu

3. Résumé

« Levels of alexithymia were measured with the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) in families of women with borderline personality disorder (BPD), restricting anorexia nervosa (AN) and a nonclinical (NC) group. Measures were correlated with sociodemographic information, empathy (as measured by the Interpersonal Reactivity Index [IRI]), emotional distress (using the Symptom Checklist-90-R [SCL-90-R]), and experiences of abuse. We have found that male gender, age, and low socioeconomic status are correlated with factor 3 of the TAS-20; that women with BPD and AN are more alexithymic than control subjects; that women with AN are more alexithymic than their parents; and that alexithymia is inversely related to the capacity for empathy. Family members of women with BPD have the highest levels of alexithymia and in these families there seems to be a complementary association between alexithymia in one parent and low levels of empathy in the other. There may be an association between the general emotional distress, history of abuse, and high levels of alexithymia that occur in women with BPD. » (p. 448)