Alexithymia in obsessive-compulsive disorder: clinical correlates and symptom dimensions
Roh, Daeyoung ; Kim, Woo-Jung ; Kim, Chan-Hyung
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Vol.199(9) : 690~695, 2011
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Previous studies have indicated that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with alexithymic traits. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the difference of alexithymia in OCD patients and healthy controls. This study was also designed to elucidate a specific link between certain OCD symptom dimensions and alexithymia. Forty-five patients with OCD and 45 healthy controls completed measures of the OCD symptom severity, alexithymia, anxiety, and depression. Patients with OCD had significantly higher scores of alexithymia than did the healthy controls. Multiple regression analysis revealed that age at onset and the level of anxiety were significantly associated with alexithymia. "Sexual/religious obsessions" was the only symptom dimension that showed a positive association with alexithymia in OCD patients. These findings suggest that OCD patients with a high level of anxiety and an early age of onset may have greater alexithymic tendency. We also found the first evidence for a specific link between sexual/religious obsessions and alexithymia in patients with OCD.