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Table 1 Studies investigating alexithymia in clinical samples of patients with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder

From: Alexithymia and eating disorders: a critical review of the literature

Authors Year Diagnostic Tool Sample Characteristics Alexithymia Measure Results
Beales & Dolton 2000 EDI Females, outpatient, 17–46 years old, AN-R (26), BN (29), recovered (24) TAS-20 Alexithymic: BN (83%), AN-R (65%), recovered (33%)
Berthoz et al. 2007 MINI Females, AN-R (50), AN-B/P (5), BN (20) TAS-20 No group differences on TAS-20 scores
Bourke et al. 1992 DSM-III-R Females, outpatient, AN-R (30), AN-B/P (18), HC (30) TAS Alexithymic: AN (77.1%), HC (6.7%); TAS Total: AN > HC
Bydlowski et al. 2005 DSM-IV Females, outpatient, AN-R (18), AN-B/P (15), BN (37), HC (70) TAS-20 Alexithymic: EDs (60%), HC (30%); TAS-20 Total: EDs > HC, no differences between EDs, group differences disappeared when controlling for depression but not when controlling for anxiety
Carano et al. 2006 DSM-IV Males and females, outpatient, obese + BED (101) TAS-20 Alexithymic: 39.6%
Corcos et al. 2000 DSM-IV Males and females, outpatient, AN-R (21), AN-B/P (11), BN (32), HC (74) TAS-20 TAS Total: EDs > HC, AN > BN, group differences between AN and BN disappeared when controlling for depression
Cochrane et al. 1993 DSM-III-R Females, outpatient, AN (19), BN (52), AN + BN (18), EDNOS (25), HC (370) TAS TAS Total Score: EDs > HC, no differences between EDs
de Groot 1995 DSM-III-R Females, day hospital program, BN (31), HC (female nurses; 20) TAS Alexithymic: BN (61.3%), HC (5%), TAS Total, DIF, DDF: BN > HC, group differences for TAS Total and DIF remained when controlling for depression
De Panfilis et al. 2003 DSM-IV Females, outpatient, AN-R (4), AN-B/P (12), BN (20), BED (28), HC (68) TAS-20 Alexithymic: EDs (14.4%), HC (1.6%); TAS-20 Total, DIF: EDs > HC
de Zwaan et al. 1995 DSM-IV Males and females, outpatient, obese + BED (83), obese + no BED (99) TAS TAS Total: no group differences
Deborde et al. 2008 MINI Females, AN-R (10), AN-B/P (7), BN (30), HC (253) TAS-20 Alexithymic: EDs (53.2%), HC (13.83%)
Eizaguirre et al. 2004 DSM-IV Females, AN-R (25), AN-BP (44), BN (82), HC (43) TAS-20 Alexithymic: AN-R (56%), AN-B/P (68.2%), BN (47%), HC (2.3%), TAS-20 Total, DIF, DDF, EOT: EDs > HC, DIF: AN-B/P > BN, AN-R, EOT: BN > AN-B/P, group differences disappeared when controlling for depression and anxiety
Gilboa-Schechtman et al. 2006 DSM-IV Females, outpatient, AN (20), BN (20), HC (20) TAS-20 TAS-20 DIF, DDF: EDs > HC, DDF scores: AN > BN, group differences disappeared when controlling for distress
Guttman et al. 2002 DSM-III-R Females, outpatient, AN-R (34), HC (33) TAS-20 TAS-20 Total, DIF, DDF: AN-R > HC
Jimerson et al. 1994 DSM-III-R Females, outpatient, BN (20), HC (20) TAS Alexithymic: BN (40%), HC (0%); TAS Total, DIF, DDF: BN > HC, group differences disappeared for DDF when controlling for anxiety and depression
Lawson et al. 2008 DSM-IV Females, outpatient, AN (11), BN (21), EDNOS (38) TAS-20 TAS-20 Total, DIF, DDF: no group differences
Montebarocci et al. 2006 DSM-IV Females, outpatient, AN-R (18), BN (16), HC (18) TAS-20 Alexithymic: AN-R (50%), BN (56%), HC (22%); TAS-20 Total: AN-R, BN > HC, DIF: BN, AN-R > HC, EOT: AN-R > BN, HC, group differences disappeared when controlling for anxiety and depression
Nandrino et al. 2006 DSM-IV Females, inpatient, AN-R (25), HC (25) TAS-20 TAS-20 Total: AN-R > HC
Parling et al. 2010 DSM-IV Females, outpatient, AN (35), HC (34) TAS-20 TAS-20 DIF, DDF: AN > HC, group differences disappeared when controlling for anxiety and depression
Pascual et al. 2011 Self-report questionnaires Females, BN-P (17), BN-NP (17), nonspecific AN (22), nonspecific BN (42) TAS-20 DDF: nonspecific AN > nonspecific BN, BN-NP
Pinaquy et al. 2003 DSM-IV Females, obese + BED (40), obese + no BED (129) TAS-20 TAS-20 Total, DIF, DDF: obese + BED > obese + no BED
Rastam et al. 1997 DSM-III-R Males and females, AN-R (48), HC (51) TAS-20 Alexithymic: AN-R (23%), HC (6%)
Schmidt et al. 1993 DSM-III-R Females, outpatient, BN (93), AN-R (55), AN-B/P (25), HC (48 females and 47 males) TAS Alexithymic: AN-R (56%), AN-B/P (48%), BN (50%), HC (17.8%); TAS Total: All EDs > HC, AN-R > BN
Sexton et al. 1998 DSM-IV Females, inpatients, AN-R (15), AN-B/P (16), BN (22), HC (14) TAS TAS Total: AN-R, AN-B/P > HC; DIF, DDF: AN-B/P, BN > HC; DDF: AN-R > BN; after controlling for depression: TAS Total: AN-R > HC; DDF: AN-R > BN, HC
Sureda et al. 1999 DSM-III-R Females, outpatient, BN (35), HC hospital staff (35) TAS-20 Alexithymic: BN (51.4%), HC (6.3%); TAS-20 Total, DIF, DDF: BN > HC
Speranza et al. 2005 DSM-IV Females, outpatient, AN-R (105), AN-B/P (49), BN (89), HC (279) TAS-20 TAS-20 DIF, DDF: all EDs > HC, when controlling for depression; DIF: BN > HC; DDF: AN-R > HC
Taylor et al. 1996 DSM-III-R Females, outpatient, AN (48), HC hospital staff (30), HC undergraduates (234) TAS-20 Alexithymic: AN (68.8%), HC hospital staff (3.3%), HC undergraduates (13.7%); TAS-20 Total, DIF, DDF: AN > all HC groups
Torres et al. 2011   Females, outpatient, AN-R (52), AN-B/P (28), HC (80) TAS-20 TAS-20 DIF, DDF, EOT: AN > HC
Troop et al. 1995 DSM-III-R Females, outpatient, AN-R (29), AN-B/P (15), BN (83), HC (79) TAS TAS Total, DIF: EDs > HC; lack of fantasy: AN-R > BN, HC
Zeeck et al. 2011 DSM-IV Females, outpatient, BED (20), obese (23), HC (20) TAS-20 TAS-20 Total: BED > obese, HC
Zonnevijlle-Bender et al. 2002 DSM-IV Females, outpatient, AN (16), BN (8), EDNOS (6), HC (33) TAS-20 Alexithymic: AN (60%), BN (50%), EDNOS (14%), HC (10%), TAS-20 Total: EDs > HC
Zonnevijlle-Bender et al. 2004 DSM-IV Females, AN-R (48), psychiatric control (anxiety and depression; 21), HC (48) TAS-20 Alexithymic: AN (60%), psychiatric control (52%), HC (27%); TAS-20 Total, DIF, DDF: AN > HC
  1. EDI = Eating Disorder Inventory [44]; MINI = The Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview [45]; DSM-III-R = Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 3rd Edition Revised [46]; DSM-IV = Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition [47]; AN-R = Anorexia Nervosa – Restricting Type; AN-B/P = Anorexia Nervosa – Bingeing/Purging Type; BN = Bulimia Nervosa; BED = Binge Eating Disorder; HC = healthy control; TAS = Toronto Alexithyma Scale 26-item Version [13]; TAS-20 = Toronto Alexithymia Scale 20-item Version [16]; TAS Total = Toronto Alexithymia Scale Total Score; DIF = Toronto Alexithymia Scale Difficulties Identifying Feelings factor; DDF = Toronto Alexithymia Scale Difficulties Describing Feelings factor, EOT = Toronto Alexithymia Scale Externally Orienting Thinking factor.