Alexithymia and suicidality in patients with depression in acute and subacute departments of psychiatric hospital “Ģintermuiža”

Lolita Dalbiņa, Jeļena Vrubļevska, Artūrs Blekte, Monta Forstmane, Marta Gēbele

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Alexithymia is a personality trait associated with poor emotional awareness and self-regulation with estimated prevalence around 13% in general population. It may increase vulnerability to depressive symptoms (Tolmunen et al., 2011). There is evidence that alexithymia may be considered a risk factor for suicide, either per se or by increasing the risk of development of depressive symptoms (Hintikka et al., 2004).The aim was to detect the prevalence of alexithymia among patients with depression (F32, F33; ICD-10) and a possible connection between presence of alexithymia and suicidality of patients with depression in psychiatric hospital “Ģintermuiža”. The patients were interviewed during the 1st week after admission gathering sociodemographic data and using Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and Module B of the MINI International Neuropsychiatric Interview to detect severity of depression, alexithymia and severity of suicidality respectively. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics, independent samples Kruskal-Wallis test and Spearman’s correlation. In total 101 patients were included in the study during the period from 01.12.2019. to 01.12.2020., 28,7% (n=29) of them were male and 71,3% (n=72) were female. Mean age of participants was 44,14 years. According to the TAS-20 cutoff score of ≥61, 27.7% (n=28) of sample didn’t have alexithymia, 20.8% (n=21) possibly had alexithymia and 51,5% (n=52) had alexithymia. Severity of depression was positively associated with alexithymia (Kruskal-Wallis p<0,01, Spearman’s ρ=0,427 p=0,001) and with severity of suicidality (Kruskal-Wallis p=0,009, Spearman’s ρ=0,340 p<0,01). Alexithymia was not significantly associated with suicidality. The prevalence of alexithymia was much higher among patients with depression than in general population. Severity of depression was linked to alexithymia and severity of suicidality, although, contrary to data from previous research, alexithymia itself was not linked to suicidality, which could be explained by relatively small sample size.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2021
EventRSU Research week 2021: Knowledge for Use in Practice - Rīga, Latvia
Duration: 24 Mar 202126 Mar 2021


ConferenceRSU Research week 2021: Knowledge for Use in Practice
Abbreviated titleRW2021
Internet address

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)


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