Content » Vol 97, Issue 8

Clinical Report

Alexithymia, Illness Perception and Self-management Competency in Psoriasis

Marie H. Larsen, Anne Lene Krogstad, Astrid K. Wahl
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-2707


Alexithymia, defined as difficulty in describing or recognizing emotions, has been shown to be connected with psoriasis, but its relationship with self-management of psoriasis has not been explored. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of alexithymia and its relationship with self-management and illness perception in the context of psoriasis. A total of 163 patients participating in 3 weeks of climate heliotherapy (CHT) at Gran Canaria were assessed for alexithymia using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) at baseline. Self-reported measures for self-management (Health Education Impact Questionnaire; heiQ), and disease severity and illness perception (Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire; BIPQ) were assessed twice. Of all patients, 14.1% were characterized as alexithymic and 22.1% scored in the intermediate range. Alexithymic patients scored significantly worse in all heiQ domains, and reported worse illness perception. However, there were no between-group differences in heiQ or BIPQ change from baseline to after CHT. In conclusion, this study shows that alexithymia indicates inferior self-management and reaffirms the associations with illness perception. Further research is required into these relationships.


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