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J Psychosom Res. 2007 Mar;62(3):341-7.

Observer- and self-rated alexithymia in eating disorder patients: levels and correspondence among three measures.

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Department of Psychiatry for Adolescents and Young Adults, IMM, Paris, France; Univesity Paris V, Paris, France.



Our objectives were to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Observer Alexithymia Scale (OAS) in eating disorder patients, alexithymia severity across diagnostic subgroups, and correspondence among three alexithymia measures.


Seventy-five women, each with an eating disorder diagnosis, completed two alexithymia self-reports, the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and the Bermond-Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire-version B (BVAQ-B), and asked a relative or an acquaintance to rate them using the OAS.


The OAS showed acceptable discriminant validity and interrater reliability. Patients' OAS scores were higher than scores reported for people-in-general samples and lower than those for outpatient clinical samples. No statistically significant OAS, TAS-20, and BVAQ-B score differences were found between the patients with anorexia nervosa restrictive type and those with bulimia nervosa. OAS, TAS-20, and BVAQ-B total scores were moderately, positively, and significantly correlated.


These clinical data show the psychometric strength of the OAS, which reasonably can be recommended for use with the TAS-20 in research and clinical practice.

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