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Psychother Psychosom. 1985;43(1):32-7.

Verbal measures of alexithymia: what do they measure.


Previous studies have shown that measurement of verbal affective expression is influenced by the method used for obtaining speech samples, thereby supporting a situation-dependent, or state concept of alexithymia. In this study monadic speech samples obtained from 20 psychoneurotic and 20 psychosomatic patients, using selected thematic apperception test (TAT) cards, were examined using different methods of content analysis. Although no differences were found with the Gottschalk-Gleser anxiety, hostility outward and hope scales, the psychosomatic patients had a more limited emotional vocabulary than the psychoneurotic patients as measured by an 'affect vocabulary score' (AVS). In contrast to the Gottschalk-Gleser scores (GGS), the AVS correlated with measures of fantasizing ability and would appear to be a more valid method of measuring alexithymia. The findings also supported a trait concept rather than a state concept of alexithymia.

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