Alexithymia and verbal intelligence:
a psychometric study

Valdes M, Jodar I, Ojuel J, Sureda B.
Instituto Clinic de Psiquiatria y Psicologia.
Hospital Clinic.
Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques
August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS),
Universidad de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
Actas Esp Psiquiatr 2001 Sep-Oct;29(5):338-42


INTRODUCTION: Alexithymia is a concept that describes the inability to put emotions into words ant that has been associated with somatization and psychosomatic disorders. METHODS: A sample of 124 outpatients attending the Psychosomatic Unit of a General Hospital was studied in order to test the hypothesis that alexithymic patients have a significantly lower verbal intelligence than nonalexithymics. Alexithymia was assessed by the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), and verbal, nonverbal and general intelligence were measured by the WAIS. RESULTS: TAS scores were not related to medical and psychiatric diagnoses, and alexithymic patients (n: 53) showed not only significantly lower scores in verbal intelligence than undifferentiated subjects (n: 37) and nonalexithymics (n: 34) but also significantly lower scores in nonverbal and general intelligence. CONCLUSION: The results do not confirm our hypothesis and are discussed in relation to theories that consider alexithymia as a consequence of cerebral asymmetry and interhemispheric dysfunctions.

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