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Alexithymia in anorexia nervosa: a controlled study using the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale.

Journal article
Authors Maria Råstam
Christopher Gillberg
I Carina Gillberg
Maria E I Johansson
Published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume 95
Issue 5
Pages 385-388
ISSN 0001-690X
Publication year 1997
Published at Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Dept of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Pages 385-388
Language en
Keywords Adolescent, Adult, Affective Symptoms, Complications, Diagnosis, Anorexia Nervosa, Classification, Complications, Psychology, Case-Control Studies, Chi-Square Distribution, Compulsive Personality Disorder, Complications, Confidence Intervals, Empathy, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Logistic Models, Male
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry


The 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS) was completed at the age of 22 years by individuals who had previously suffered from anorexia nervosa (AN), and also by members of a comparison group. The AN and comparison groups had been recruited from community samples. Overall, the TAS scores did not clearly discriminate between the two groups. However, the AN group was significantly more often represented among subjects with the highest TAS scores. A subgroup with empathy disorder tended to have particularly high scores. It is concluded that alexithymia, as defined using the TAS-20, is found only in a subgroup of individuals with AN, and possibly more often in those who are also clinically diagnosed as suffering from empathy disorder. The TAS-20 is not suitable for screening of AN in the general population.

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