Alexithymia, craving and attachment in a heavy drinking population

Fred Arne Thorberg*, Ross McD Young, Karen A. Sullivan, Michael Lyvers, Jason P. Connor, Gerald F X Feeney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)
179 Downloads (Pure)


Up to fifty per cent of individuals with Alcohol use disorders (AUD) also have alexithymia a personality construct hypothesized to be related to attachment difficulties. The relationship between alexithymia, craving, anxious attachment and alcohol-dependence severity was examined in 254 patients participating in a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) program for alcohol-dependence. Participants completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), the Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale (OCDS), the Revised Adult Attachment Anxiety Subscale (RAAS-Anxiety) and the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). MANOVA indicated that individuals with alexithymia reported significantly higher levels of total OCDS, obsessive thoughts about alcohol, and compulsive drinking urges and behavior, compared to the non-alexithymic group. Regression analyses found that anxious attachment partially mediated the relationship between alexithymia and craving. Anxious attachment may be a potential treatment target to reduce alcohol consumption in those with alcohol-dependence and alexithymia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-430
Number of pages4
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


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