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Psychother Psychosom. 1995;64(1):43-8.

Predictive value of alexithymia: a prospective study in somatizing patients.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Vienna, Austria.


In the present study, the potential role of alexithymia in predicting the long-term treatment outcome was investigated prospectively in 30 patients with DSM-III-R somatoform disorders and anxiety disorders. Using SCID interviews, diagnoses were assessed before inpatient treatment and 2 years after discharge. Patients who met criteria for DSM-III-R undifferentiated somatoform disorder at follow-up exhibited higher pretreatment alexithymia scores (as measured by the TAS) as compared with patients who showed remission of their somatoform disorder or patients who never had met criteria for a somatoform disorder. As a result stepwise logistic regression analyses, high alexithymia scores emerged as a significant predictor of persistent somatization, independent of other measures of psychopathology, sociodemographic variables, and measures of illness severity.

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