The associations between somatization, alexithymia, and mental problems in adolescents

Yavuz M., Erdur B., Isik M., Bogday H., Ince H. E. , Kok O., ...More

ANADOLU PSIKIYATRI DERGISI-ANATOLIAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY, vol.20, no.3, pp.321-326, 2019 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.5455/apd.3992
  • Page Numbers: pp.321-326


Objective: To investigate the effect of alexithymic personality characteristics, and associated mental problems on somatization in adolescents. Methods: This research was conducted on 773 students (49% female, n=376; 51% male, n=397) aged between 11 and 17. The students were recruited from two state schools in Istanbul. DSM-5 Level 2 Somatic Symptom Scale Child Form, 20 item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) self-report form were used as measures. The mean scores of the scales between female and male groups were compared with independent sample t test. The correlations between the scales were analyzed with Pearson's product moment correlation test. The predictability of total scores of TAS-20 and SDQ, and SDQ subscale scores on somatization scores was evaluated with multivariate linear regression analysis. Results: The somatization scores of females were higher than males, significantly. Somatization scores were positively correlated with alexithymia, SDQ total scores, emotional problems, behavior problems, inattention/hyperactivity, and peer relation problems scores, significantly. The results of regression analysis indicated that alexithymia, emotional problems, behavior problems and age significantly predict the somatization levels. Conclusion: It is suggested that therapeutic interventions aiming to improve of emotional identification and expressions may help us to increase the success of somatization treatment in adolescents. Additionally, focusing on emotional problems such as depressive symptoms and elevated anxiety levels, and behavioral problems may also increase the success of treatment.