Prevalence of alexithymia and its association with anxiety and depression in a sample of Greek chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD outpatientsReport as inadecuate

Prevalence of alexithymia and its association with anxiety and depression in a sample of Greek chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD outpatients - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

Annals of General Psychiatry

, 9:16

First Online: 14 April 2010Received: 30 December 2009Accepted: 14 April 2010


BackgroundChronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD is a major health problem, especially in adults over 40 years of age, and has a great social and economic impact. The psychological morbidity of COPD patients with regard to anxiety and depressive symptoms has been extensively studied in the past. However, few studies have investigated the prevalence of alexithymia in these patients, as well as its association with this comorbidity. Based on this fact, we studied the prevalence of alexithymia and its association with anxiety and depressive symptoms in COPD outpatients.

MethodsThe present study included 167, randomly selected, outpatients diagnosed with COPD. Alexithymia, anxiety and depression were assessed using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale TAS-20, Spielberger Trait Anxiety Inventory STAI, and Beck Depression Inventory BDI, respectively.

ResultsThe mean BDI score was 12.88 SD: 7.7, mean STAI score 41.8 SD: 11.0 and mean TAS-20 score 48.2 SD: 11.5. No differences were observed between genders regarding age and alexithymia t test P > 0.05, while female patients presented higher depression and trait anxiety scores than males t test P < 0.05. Clinically significant levels of anxiety were present in 37.1% of men, and in 45.7% of women. The mean depression score was also higher than the corresponding mean score in the general population one-sample t test P < 0.01, while 27.7% and 30.5% of the sample presented mild and moderate to severe depression, respectively. Finally, a strong correlation was observed between alexithymia, depression and anxiety.

ConclusionsThis study confirms the high prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms in Greek outpatients with COPD. The prevalence of alexithymia in COPD patients, contrary to what has been observed in patients with other chronic respiratory diseases, seem to be lower. However, we observed a strong association between alexithymia, depression and anxiety levels. This observation suggests that alexithymia should be taken into consideration when drafting specific psychotherapeutic interventions for these patients.

Download fulltext PDF

Author: Athanasios Tselebis - Epaminondas Kosmas - Dionisios Bratis - Georgios Moussas - Athanasios Karkanias - Ioannis Ilias - Niko


Related documents