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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2016 August;151(4):347-52

Copyright © 2016 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Alexithymia, dissociation, and trauma in patients with chronic skin conditions

Laura GIOVANNELLI 1, Chiara BARBASIO 1, Anna G. BURRONI 2, Mariella FASSINO 3, Aurora PARODI 2, Antonella GRANIERI 1

1 Department of Psychology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 2 Unit of Dermatology, San Martino University Hospital and Institute for Scientific Research, University Clinic of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 3 Local Health Center TO1, Turin, Italy


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BACKGROUND: There is considerable literature concerning psychological distress and dermatological diseases. Recent studies highlight the role of emotion dysregulation in several skin diseases. Our study sought to explore emotion regulation in patients with chronic skin conditions and the frequency of traumatic experiences they had encountered.
METHODS: Forty-nine sequential dermatological patients were compared with 49 healthy adults. Both groups were studied by means of validated scales for alexithymia (Toronto Alexithymia Scale [TAS-20]) and dissociation (Dissociation Experiences Scale [DES-II] and they completed a checklist for traumatic events (Traumatic Experiences Checklist [TEC]).
RESULTS: Our results indicated that subjects suffering from chronic dermatological diseases presented more severe alexithymic and dissociative traits. Furthermore, they had suffered a greater number of stressful experiences than had individuals in the control group.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings appear to be consistent with literature linking skin diseases and emotion regulation, highlighting a psychosomatic specificity in these conditions.

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