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Psychol Rep. 1999 Aug;85(1):67-77.

Alexithymic traits as predictors of difficulties with adjustment in an outpatient cohort of expatriates in Tokyo.

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  • 1Tokyo Institute of Psychiatry, Japan.


The purpose of this study was to examine whether alexithymic characteristics, which are thought to be related to poor coping with stress, would be associated with variables thought to reflect adjustment to life abroad. The subjects were 56 expatriates living in Tokyo, Japan. The Expatriate Adaptation Inventory, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, and the Social Support Questionnaire of the Stress and Coping Inventory were given to the subjects. Scores on alexithymia were significantly associated with dissatisfaction with life abroad, higher satisfaction with life in one's home country prior to departure, and higher ratings on the perception of poor social support. An alexithymia variable, difficulty identifying feelings, was a significant predictor of dissatisfaction with life abroad and satisfaction with life in the home country. The results suggest that, because alexithymia was associated with lower satisfaction with life abroad and higher satisfaction in the home country prior to departure, it may be a predictor of adjustment difficulties when individuals live abroad. Empirical confirmation is needed.

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