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May 2022

A California Q-set alexithymia prototype and its relationship to ego-control and ego-resiliency

Author(s): Reise, S. P.

Journal/Book: J Psychosom Res. 1996; 41: The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England OX5 1GB. Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd. 597-607.

Abstract: The primary purposes of the present study were to use the Q-sort method to develop a measure of alexithymia and to locate the construct within a two-dimensional (ego-control and ego-resiliency) model of personality. Thirteen professional judges described the characteristics of the alexithymic personality with the 100-item California Q-set. Scores from the sorts were aggregated to form the Alexithymia Prototype, which had a Spearman-Brown reliability of 0.99. Alexithymic people were described as having difficulties experiencing and expressing emotion, lacking imagination, and being literal, socially conforming, and utilitarian; they lack insight, are humorless, and experience meaninglessness; and anxiety and tension fmd outlet in bodily symptoms. This description is consistent, for the most part, with modern formulations of the alexithymia construct. In the language of the two-dimensional personality model, alexithymic individuals appear to be overcontrolling and lacking ego-resiliency (i.e., constricted, anxious, rigid, and withdrawn). We, therefore, compared the Alexithymia Prototype with two independently developed prototypes. Overcontrol and Ego-Resiliency. The Q-correlations between alexithymia and overcontrol and between alexithymia and ego-resiliency were 0.45 and -0.70, respectively. Although item analyses confirmed moderate overlap between alexithymia and overcontrol and considerable overlap between alexithymia and lacking ego-resiliency (ego-brittle), item differences suggest that alexithymia, indeed, is a unique personality construct.

Note: Article Haviland MG, Loma Linda Univ, Sch Med, Dept Psychiat, Loma Linda,CA 92350 USA

Keyword(s): alexithymia; Q-sort; ego-control; ego resiliency; SCALE; VALIDITY; PSYCHOPATHOLOGY; PSYCHOTHERAPY; VALIDATION; CONSTRUCT; NERVOSA


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