To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Alexithymia (difficulties in identifying and describing emotion) is a transdiagnostic trait implicated in social–emotional and mental health problems in the general population. Many autistic individuals experience significant social-communication difficulties and elevated anxiety/depression and alexithymia. Nevertheless, the role of alexithymia in explaining individual variability in the quality/severity of social-communication difficulties and/or anxiety and depression symptoms in autism remains poorly understood.
In total, 337 adolescents and adults (autism N = 179) were assessed for alexithymia on the Toronto Alexithymia Scale and for social-communication difficulties, anxiety and depression symptoms. A total of 135 individuals (autism N = 76) were followed up 12–24 months later. We used regression models to establish cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between alexithymia, social-communication difficulties, anxiety and depression symptoms.
Autistic individuals reported significantly higher alexithymia than comparison individuals (p < 0.001, r effect size = 0.48), with 47.3% of autistic females and 21.0% of autistic males meeting cut-off for clinically relevant alexithymia (score ⩾61). Difficulties in describing feelings were particularly associated with current self-reported social-communication difficulties [p < 0.001, β = 0.57, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.44–0.67] and predicted later social-communication difficulties (p = 0.02, β = 0.43, 95% CI 0.07–0.82). Difficulties in identifying feelings were particularly associated with current anxiety symptom severity (p < 0.001, β = 0.54, 95% CI 0.41–0.77) and predicted later anxiety (p = 0.01; β = 0.31, 95% CI 0.08–0.62).
Our findings suggest that difficulties in identifying v. describing emotion are associated with differential clinical outcomes in autism. Psychological therapies targeting emotional awareness may improve social-communication and anxiety symptoms in autism, potentially conferring long-term benefits.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.