Emotional Self-awareness Problem Negatively Impacts Fibromyalgia Coping Strategies, Researchers Say

Emotional Self-awareness Problem Negatively Impacts Fibromyalgia Coping Strategies, Researchers Say
A study of psychological factors in fibromyalgia patients found an association between alexithymia — a self-awareness personality disposition — and coping strategies that coincide with patients’ perceived social support. The researchers argue for a need to assess and deal with alexithymia as part of a treatment strategy for fibromyalgia patients. The study, “Coping strategies and perceived social support in fibromyalgia syndrome: Relationship with alexithymia,” was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. Alexithymia is defined as a self-awareness problem that makes it difficult for some people to recognize their own emotions and feelings. These individuals have a hard time understanding their own self-experience or the nuances of how others feel. They also tend to pay too much attention to other events. In the study, researchers used the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, a questionnaire that measures three aspects of alexithymia: difficulty identifying feelings (DIF); difficulty describing feelings (DDF); and externally-oriented thinking (EOT) — the tendency to focus on outside events and not on their inner emotional experience. A battery of tests assessing coping strategies, perceived social support, alexithymia, psychological distress, and pain intensity was completed by 153 fibromyalgia patients. High levels of psychological distress (mainly anxiety and depression) and alexithymia were observed in the fibromya
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