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01-10-2009 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2009

Cognitive Therapy and Research 5/2009

Alexithymia and Its Relationships with Dissociative Experiences, Body Dissatisfaction and Eating Disturbances in a Non-Clinical Female Sample

Tijdschrift:
Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 5/2009
Auteurs:
Domenico De Berardis, Nicola Serroni, Daniela Campanella, Alessandro Carano, Francesco Gambi, Alessandro Valchera, Chiara Conti, Gianna Sepede, Mario Caltabiano, Anna Maria Pizzorno, Carla Cotellessa, Rosa Maria Salerno, Filippo Maria Ferro

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to investigate, in a non-clinical sample of undergraduate women, the relationships between alexithymia, dissociative experiences and body dissatisfaction, while identifying the predictive factors associated with a potential risk of developing eating disorders (EDs). The Toronto alexithymia scale (TAS-20), dissociative experiences scale (DES), eating disorder inventory-2 (EDI-2), body shape questionnaire (BSQ), symptom checklist revised (SCL-90-R) and rosenberg self-esteem scale (RSES) were completed by 546 undergraduate females. We found that alexithymics had higher dissociative experiences and body dissatisfaction than did the nonalexithymics. In addition, alexithymics also reported a higher potential risk for ED (higher scores on EDI-2) and lower self-esteem as compared to nonalexithymics. Difficulty in the identifying and describing feelings subscales of the TAS-20, dissociative experiences as well as lower self-esteem were associated with higher risk of EDs in a linear regression analysis. Our findings suggest that a combination of alexithymia, dissociative experiences and low self-esteem may constitute a risk-factor for symptoms of EDs, in a non-clinical sample of university women. We discuss limitations of the present study and suggest opportunities for future research.

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