Objectives Our aim was to study the phenomenon of alexithymia – a special mental quality of psychosomatic personality in systemic sclerosis patients.
Methods We observed 54 patients suffering from systemic sclerosis (SS) using Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS). The majority of patients were women (94, 4%) of 45, 59 ± 1, 65 years in average. Average duration of the disease was 4, 42 ± 0, 44 years. 1st degree of SS activity has been diagnosed in 12 (22, 2%) patients, 2nd degree - in 37 (68, 5%) and 3rd degree - in 5 (9, 3%) patients. The chronic clinical course of the disease was observed in 16 (29, 6%) patients, subacute course of the disease - in 35 (64, 8%) and acute course - in 3 (5, 5%) patients.
Results The data we obtained shows evidence of high level of alexithymia in SS patients (77,35 ± 1,8 test scores). Besides the results of our research, alexithymia was seen to play a certain role in the pathogenesis of psychosomatic disturbances in SS. Alexithymia doesn’t depend on gender and age of patients. The clinical course and activity of the disease on the one hand, reliably has a negative correlation between alexithymia expression and educational level of patients (r=-0,37 at p=0,028). Internality in the relation to disease (r=-0,64 at p=0,031), was also reliably in a direct correlation with “Jet formations” mechanism of psychological defense (r=0,58 at p=0,023) which was revealed on the other hand.
Conclusions Thus, there are certain correlations between alexithymia development and some clinical and psychological characteristics of SS patients. Understanding the correlations is important in order to organize preventive psychological interventions with the purpose to correct alexithymic traits.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.