Iranian Journal of Dermatology

Vol. 21, No. 86, winter 2018
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Alexithymia in vitiligo patients: a case-control study
Zohreh Maghami, Mozhdeh Sepaskhah, Ebrahim Moghimi Sarani, Zahra Bagheri, Mohamad Maghami

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Date Received: 2018 / Aug / 02 Date Revised: 2018 / Aug / 16 Date Accepted: 2018 / Sep / 12

Background: Vitiligo is a common pigmentary disorder affecting mental health, and alexithymia is a trait associated with multiple cutaneous disorders. This study was conducted to compare vitiligo patients and controls as concerns alexithymia.
Methods: Fifty-two patients with vitiligo and 61 non-vitiligo individuals were recruited. They completed Toronto alexithymia score-20 questionnaire. Independent sample t-test and Chi-square tests were used for comparing numerical and categorical variables, respectively. P value ? 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: Twenty vitiligo patients were alexithymic, while 14 were borderline alexithymic. Thirteen, 16, and 32 control people were alexithymic, borderline alexithymic and non-alexithymic, respectively (p value: 0.096). Although alexithymia and borderline alexithymia were not significantly more prevalent in vitiligo patients (p value: 0.57), they were more likely to be high alexithymic (TAS ? 61) compared with the control group  (p value: 0.02). Comparisons with the controls, patients obtained significantly higher scores associated with subscales of difficulty in identifying feelings (DIF) and difficulty in describing feelings (DDF) (p value: 0.002 and 0.02 respectively). Patients with lower education obtained higher alexithymia scores (p value: 0.009).
Conclusion: High alexithymia and higher DIF and DDF subscales are more prevalent in vitiligo patients in comparison with control population. Patients with lower levels of education are more alexithymic.

Keywords: alexithymia, vitiligo, psychology, comorbidity

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