Background: We assessed alexithymia and alexithymic features among young adult subjects with and without somatization symptoms in an epidemiological setting with a sample of young adults.
Methods: The sample consisted of urban 31-year-old subjects (N=1002). Data on somatization were gathered from a review of all public health outpatient records. Subjects with four or more somatization symptoms according to the DSM-III-R criteria were considered somatizers. The 20-item version of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) was used to measure alexithymia. Subjects with a total TAS score over 60 were considered as being alexithymic, and those with a score under 52 were considered nonalexithymic. Subjects with a total TAS score from 52 to 60 were considered as having alexithymic features.
Results: The prevalence of alexithymia was 6.0% among somatizers and 4.8% among subjects without somatization symptoms, and the prevalence of alexithymic features was 7.5% and 12.6%, respectively.
Conclusions: No association was found between alexithymia and somatization in young adult general population. The earlier theory of the association between alexithymia and somatization may be questionable.