Evaluation of alexithymia and depression in severe obese patients not affected by eating disorders

Eat Weight Disord. 2011 Mar;16(1):e24-9. doi: 10.1007/BF03327517.


Objective: The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the different aspects of the construct of alexithymia in a group of severe obese patients not affected by eating disorders. Moreover, we tested if in the same patients there was a relationship between alexithymic traits and depressive symptoms.

Method: Forty-nine severe obese patients were evaluated through the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The results were compared with those of a normal weight control group.

Results: Obese patients were less able than control subjects in recognizing and labeling their own emotions. This deficit was positively associated with depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: The data suggest that severe obese patients have more difficulties in recognizing their emotions and have more depressive symptoms than control subjects have.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / complications*
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depression / complications*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Young Adult