Differences in alexithymia and emotional awareness in exhaustion syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome
2017 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 58, no 1, 52-61 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Symptoms of Exhaustion Syndrome (ES) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) are overlapping and create difficulties of differential diagnosis. Empirical studies comparing ES and CFS are scarce. This study aims to investigate if there are any emotional differences between ES and CFS. This cross-sectional study compared self-reported alexithymia and observer-rated emotional awareness in patients with ES (n = 31), CFS (n = 38) and healthy controls (HC) (n = 30). Self-reported alexithymia was measured with the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 (TAS-20) and emotional awareness with an observer-rated performance test, the Level of Emotional Awareness Scale (LEAS). Additionally, depression and anxiety were scored by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Results show that patients with ES expressed higher self-reported alexithymia in the TAS-20 compared to HC, but had similar emotional awareness capacity in the observer-rated performance test, the LEAS. Patients with CFS expressed more difficulties in identifying emotions compared to HCs, and performed significantly worse in the LEAS-total and spent more time completing the LEAS as compared to HC. Correlation and multiple regressions analyses revealed that depression and anxiety positively correlated with and explained part of the variances in alexithymia scores, while age and group explained the major part of the variance in LEAS. Findings of this study indicate that emotional status is different in patients with ES and CFS with respect to both self-reported alexithymia and observer-rated emotional awareness. Emotional parameters should be approached both in clinical investigation and psychotherapy for patients with ES and CFS.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
WILEY , 2017. Vol. 58, no 1, 52-61 p.
Chronic fatigue syndrome; exhaustion syndrome; alexithymia; emotional awareness; depression
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-136350DOI: 10.1111/sjop.12332ISI: 000396914800008PubMedID: 27686801OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-136350DiVA: diva2:1087573
Funding Agencies|Bertil Wennbergs foundation2017-04-072017-04-072017-04-07