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The impact of alexithymia on somatization after traumatic brain injury / Rodger Wood; Claire Williams; Tania Kalyani
Brain Injury, Volume: 23, Issue: 7-8, Pages: 649 - 654
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Introduction: High rates of alexithymia have been reported following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Difficulty modulating emotional states has been shown to increase the risk of affective distress and the tendency to express this distress in the form of physical symptoms. The current study therefore...
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Introduction: High rates of alexithymia have been reported following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Difficulty modulating emotional states has been shown to increase the risk of affective distress and the tendency to express this distress in the form of physical symptoms. The current study therefore examined relationships between alexithymia, affective distress and somatization in a TBI sample. Method: Eighty-three patients with TBI completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and the Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R). Results: Alexithymic individuals reported higher ratings of anxiety, low mood and somatic symptoms. Alexithymia accounted for a significant amount of variance in anxiety, depression and somatization ratings. Scores on sub-scale 1 of the TAS-20 (difficulty identifying feelings) made a significant unique contribution to explaining somatization ratings after controlling for the influence of anxiety and depression ratings. Conclusion: Alexithymia after TBI increases the risk of affective disturbance and somatization. It needs to be identified at an early stage to direct rehabilitation interventions and improve prospects for psychosocial outcome.
TBI, TAS-20, Somatization, Affective Disorder
College of Human and Health Sciences