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Compr Psychiatry. 2013 Feb;54(2):141-8. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2012.07.005. Epub 2012 Sep 27.

Are alexithymia and schizoid personality disorder synonymous diagnoses?

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Psychology Department, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO 80918, USA.


Relationships among alexithymia, personality disorders, and higher-order psychopathological and interpersonal dimensions were examined in 199 college students and a close relative of each. Alexithymia, the difficulty to express and identify emotions, was measured by the Observer Alexithymia Scale (OAS; [Haviland, M. G., Warren, W. L., & Riggs, M. L. (2000). An observer scale to measure alexithymia. Psychosomatics, 41, 385-392]), which was completed by each student's relative. Each student completed three self-report measures: the Coolidge Axis II Inventory (CATI; [Coolidge, F. L. (2000). Coolidge Axis II Inventory: Manual. Colorado Springs, CO: Author.), the Five Dimensional Personality Test (5DPT; [van Kampen, D. (2009). Personality and psychopathology: A theory-based revision of Eysenck's PEN model. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health, 5, 9-21]), and the Horney-Coolidge Tridimensional Inventory (HCTI; [Coolidge, F. L. (1998). Horney-Coolidge Tridimensional Inventory: Manual. Colorado Springs, CO: Author]). Results indicated that higher levels of alexithymia are associated with personality disorders and their traits, such as schizoid, avoidant, and paranoid. With regard to the issue of the similarity and difference between alexithymia and schizoid personality disorder, there was sufficient evidence across all of the measures to suggest that they are not synonymous entities. Finally, alexithymic traits were associated with concurrent depressive traits even in a non-clinical sample.

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