Alexithymia in alcohol dependent patients: Gender differences, associations with craving and dependence severity

Fred Thorberg, Ross Mc D Young, K A Sullivan, Michael F. Lyvers, Jason P. Connor, Anne S Landheim, Reidar Tyssen, Gerald F X Feeney

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Up to 50% of alcoholics have alexithymia, a multifaceted personality trait associated with emotion regulation difficulties. Although research has examined alexithymia and alcohol dependence, gender differences are yet to be explored. The objective of the present study was to determine gender differences in relation to alexithymia as well as the relationship with craving and dependence severity in a sample of alcohol dependent outpatients. Three hundred and seventy eight patients (66 %male) aged between 18-71 years (M = 38.92) undertaking Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for alcohol dependence were recruited. Participants with a diagnosis of a co-morbid major psychiatric disorder, organic brain syndrome or alcohol-related medical complications were excluded. Participants were detoxified prior to assessment and completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), the Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale (OCDS) and the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT), as part of a larger study. T-tests indicated that males scored significantly higher on Difficulties Describing Feelings and Externally Oriented Thinking compared to females. Chi-square test indicated that 34.5% of males were classified as alexithymic, 25.4% borderline alexithymic, 40.1% non-alexithymic compared to 26.4%, 26.4% and 47.1% for females. TAS-20 scales were significantly correlated with all OCDS scales for males, but not for females. In conclusion, the present study found a stronger relationship between alexithymia craving and alcohol dependence severity for men.These findings highlight the importance of con-ducting gender specific research on alexithymia in alcoholic populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Issue numberSpecial Issue: XXX International Congress of Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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