Prevalence and associated factors of alexithymia among adult prisoners in China: a cross-sectional studyReportar como inadecuado

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BMC Psychiatry

, 17:287

Personality disorders and disorders of adult behavior


BackgroundPrison is an extremely stressful environment and prisoners have an increasing risk of suffering from alexithymia. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the prevalence and associated factors of alexithymia among prisoners in China.

MethodsA cross-sectional study was conducted in five main jails of the district of Zhejiang province in China, and a total of 1705 adult prisoners ultimately took part in the study. Toronto Alexithymia Scale, Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Beck Hopelessness Scale and several short demographic questions were applied.

ResultsOver 30% of prisoners were classified as alexithymics and as high as 96.2% of prisoners suffered from at least one traumatic experience in their childhood, meanwhile, 81.5%, 53.4% and 85.8% were found to be positive for depression, anxiety and hopelessness symptoms respectively. Education, childhood trauma, negative emotional symptoms including depression, anxiety and hopelessness of the respondents, were negatively or positively associated with alexithymia among prisoners.

ConclusionsThe results indicated that high prevalence of alexithymia among prisoners is linked with their level of education, experience of childhood trauma and symptoms of negative emotions. Accordingly, the findings in our study can be used for prevention and intervention of alexithymia among prisoners.

KeywordsAlexithymia Duration in prison Childhood trauma Negative emotions Prisoners AbbreviationsBAIBeck Anxiety Inventory

BDIBeck Depression Inventory

BHSBeck Hopelessness Scale

CTQChildhood Trauma Questionnaire

DDFDifficulties Describing Feelings

DIFDifficulties Identifying Feelings

EOTExternally Oriented Thinking

TAS-20the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12888-017-1443-7 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Li Chen - Linna Xu - Weimin You - Xiaoyan Zhang - Nanpeng Ling


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