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Eur Psychiatry. 2005 May;20(3):291-8.

The validity of using self-reports to assess emotion regulation abilities in adults with autism spectrum disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Institut Mutualiste Montsouris, 42, Boulevard Jourdan, 75674 Paris cedex 14, France. sylvie.berthoz@imm.fr



The current paper focused on the validity of using self-reports to assess emotion regulation abilities in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). To assess this we sought responses to two alexithymia self-reports and a depression self-report at two time points from adults with and without ASD.


An initial sample of 27 adults with ASD and 35 normal adults completed the 20-item Toronto alexithymia scale (TAS-20), the Bermond and Vorst alexithymia questionnaire-form B (BVAQ-B), and the Beck depression inventory (BDI), at test time 1. Of these individuals, 19 ASD and 29 controls participated again after a period ranging from 4 to 12 months.


ASD participants were able to report about their own emotions using self-reports. BVAQ-B showed reasonable convergent validity and test-retest reliability in both groups. Scores on both alexithymia scales were stable across the two participant groups. However, results revealed that although the TAS-20 total score discriminated between the two groups at both time points, the BVAQ-B total score did not. Moreover, the TAS-20 showed stronger test-retest reliability than the BVAQ-B.


ASD participants appeared more depressed and more alexithymic than the controls. The use of the BVAQ-B, as an additional assessment of alexithymia, indicated that ASD patients have a specific type of alexithymia characterised by increased difficulties in the cognitive domain rather than the affective aspects of alexithymia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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