Alexithymia and Psychological Distress in Patients With Fibromyalgia and Rheumatic Disease

Frontiers in Psychology
Laura MarchiCiro Conversano


Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic rheumatologic disease characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and other psychopathological symptoms which have a negative impact on patients' quality of life. FMS is frequently associated with alexithymia, a multidimensional construct characterized by difficulty in identifying feelings (DIF) and verbally communicating them difficulty describing feelings (DDF) and an externally oriented cognitive thinking style (EOT). The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between alexithymia, anxious and depressive symptoms and pain perception, in patients with FMS and other rheumatic diseases (RD). The sample consisted of 127 participants (M = 25, F = 102; mean age: 51.97; SD: 11.14), of which 48 with FMS, 41 with RD and 38 healthy control group (HC). All groups underwent to a test battery investigating anxiety and depressive symptoms (HADS), pain (VAS; QUID-S/-A) and alexithymia (TAS-20). A high prevalence of alexithymia (TAS ≥ 61) was found in FMS (47.9%) and RD (41.5%) patients, compared to the HC group (2.6%). FMS patients showed significant higher scores than HC on DIF, DDF, EOT, anxiety and depression. The clinical sample, FMS and RD groups combined (n = 89), ale...Continue Reading


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