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October 2021

Alexithymia, affect intensity and emotional range in suicidal patients

Author(s): Horesh, N., Offer, D., Dannon, P. N., Lepkifker, E., Kotler, M.

Journal/Book: Psychother Psychosom. 1999; 68: Allschwilerstrasse 10, CH-4009 Basel, Switzerland. Karger. 276-280.

Abstract: Background: Although negative affect in general has been widely associated with suicide, the role of specific emotions and affect features in depression and suicidality is unclear. This study examined the potential of three major components of the affect structure as predictors of suicidal behavior. Methods: Twenty suicidal depressed (SD) inpatients were compared with 20 nonsuicidal depressed (NSD) inpatients and 20 healthy controls for alexithymia, emotional range (ER; i,e. Variety of emotions experienced by the subjects) and affect intensity (Al; i,e. The intensity of their emotional responsiveness). Results:Both the SD and the NSD patients had a narrower range of emotions, a stronger Al and a higher degree of alexithymia than did the healthy controls. No differences were found between the scores of the two inpatients groups. Conclusions: The th ree affect components examined (alexithymia, Al and ER) did nor prove to represent sensitive predictors of suicidal behavior. Hopelessness and depression severity were found to be; more reliable in the prediction of suicidal risk. We discuss the im plications of th is study, particularly the possibility of early detection and intervention in patients at risk.

Note: Article Iancu I, Chaim Sheba Med Ctr, Psychiat Serv, IL-52621 Tel Hashomer, ISRAEL

Keyword(s): suicide; affect; depression; alexithymia; emotional range; affect intensity; prediction; hopelessness; IDEATION; HOPELESSNESS; RISK; DISORDER; SCALE; ANGER; MODEL

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