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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2008 Aug;118(2):164-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2008.01199.x. Epub 2008 May 22.

Alexithymia and cognitive behaviour therapy outcome for subthreshold depression.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Psychology, Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic diseases (CoRPS), Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands. v.r.m.spek@uvt.nl

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Alexithymia is hypothesized to be a stable trait that hinders favourable outcomes of psychotherapy. We tested two hypotheses: i) alexithymia is not stable but changes along with a change in depressive symptoms and ii) pretreatment alexithymia hinders gaining benefits from psychotherapy.

METHOD:

A total of 201 participants (mean age = 54 years, SD = 4.4) with subthreshold depression were treated with cognitive behaviour therapy. Outcome was defined as the change in depressive symptoms from pretreatment to post-treatment and to 1-year follow-up.

RESULTS:

Changes in depressive symptoms were significantly correlated with changes in alexithymia. Baseline alexithymia scores were not correlated with treatment outcome.

CONCLUSION:

Alexithymia is less stable than hypothesized: changes in alexithymia were associated with change in depressive symptoms. Furthermore, alexithymia does not hinder cognitive behaviour therapy outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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