Alexithymia and dissociative tendencies in an adolescent sample from Eastern Turkey

Sayar K., KÖSE A. , Grabe H., Topbas M.

PSYCHIATRY AND CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCES, cilt.59, sa.2, ss.127-134, 2005 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier identifier

  • Yayın Türü: Makale / Tam Makale
  • Cilt numarası: 59 Konu: 2
  • Basım Tarihi: 2005
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2005.01346.x
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.127-134


Alexithymia and dissociative reactions are two strategies that have been put forward as coping mechanisms to alleviate painful emotions. Adult studies reveal an association between alexithymia and dissociation. In line with the coping hypothesis, it was predicted that the relationship between alexithymia and dissociative tendencies would be partly mediated by current levels of stress and past traumatic experiences. Dissociation may also be related to enhanced fantasizing, although alexithymia has traditionally been associated with an incapacity to fantasize. This relationship has not been studied well in adolescents. In the present study, 173 randomly selected high school students from Eastern Turkey were assessed with the Adolescent Dissociative Experiences Scale, the Beck Depression and Anxiety inventories, the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale. Correlation analyses followed by stepwise regression analyses were performed. 'Difficulty identifying feelings' subscale of Toronto Alexithymia Scale, anxiety level and the history of physical abuse emerged as predictors of dissociative tendencies. It seems that in this group, dissociation is associated with anxiety and with difficulty in identifying feelings. Physical abuse also contributes to dissociation. The adolescent who is alexithymic may be more prone to dissociation when compared to their non-alexithymic peers. Helping alexithymic adolescents describe their body experiences may decrease their tendency to dissociation by increasing their ability to verbally identify their stressors.