Alexithymia and psychological distress among frequent attendance patients in health care.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:The aim of the present study was to find out whether alexithymia is common in frequently attending primary health care patients and whether alexithymia and psychological distress are associated in these patients. METHODS:Alexithymia was measured by the TAS-26 and psychological distress by the SCL-25 in a random sample of 394 working-age primary health care patients. Frequent attendance was defined as a minimum of 11 visits during 1 year to different kinds of outpatient health care services, excluding specialized psychiatric care. RESULTS:Frequently attending patients with psychological distress were found to be alexithymic more commonly than other patients, but this was not the case with other frequently attending patients. In other words, frequent attendance and alexithymia had an association mediated by psychological distress. CONCLUSIONS:There is a subgroup of frequently attending patients, who are alexithymic and have psychological distress, too. They usually visit health-care services because of a somatic complaint. We hypothesize that their expression of psychological distress was masked and somatized just because of alexithymia.

journal_name

Psychother Psychosom

authors

Joukamaa M,Karlsson H,Sholman B,Lehtinen V

doi

10.1159/000289075

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

1996-01-01 00:00:00

pages

199-202

issue

4

eissn

0033-3190

issn

1423-0348

journal_volume

65

pub_type

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