Alexithymia and cognitive behaviour therapy outcome for subthreshold depression

V. Spek, I. Nyklicek, P. Cuijpers, V. Pop

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Objective: Alexithymia is hypothesized to be a stable trait that hinders favourable outcomes of psychotherapy. We tested two hypotheses: i) alexithymia is not stable but changes along with a change in depressive symptoms and ii) pretreatment alexithymia hinders gaining benefits from psychotherapy. Method: A total of 201 participants (mean age = 54 years, SD = 4.4) with subthreshold depression were treated with cognitive behaviour therapy. Outcome was defined as the change in depressive symptoms from pretreatment to post-treatment and to 1-year follow-up. Results: Changes in depressive symptoms were significantly correlated with changes in alexithymia. Baseline alexithymia scores were not correlated with treatment outcome. Conclusion: Alexithymia is less stable than hypothesized: changes in alexithymia were associated with change in depressive symptoms. Furthermore, alexithymia does not hinder cognitive behaviour therapy outcome. Copyright © 2008 The Authors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-167
Number of pages4
JournalActa psychiatrica scandinavica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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