Alexithymia and anxiety sensitivity in patients with non-cardiac chest pain☆

Publication year: 2011
Source: Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, Volume 42, Issue 4, December 2011, Pages 432-439

Kamila S., White , Cassandra J., McDonnell , Ernest V., Gervino

The aim of this study was to examine independent and combined influences of alexithymia and anxiety sensitivity on chest pain and life interference in patients with non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP). Theories of NCCP posit a central role for emotion in the experience of chest pain, however, studies have not examined how alexithymia characterized by a difficulty identifying or verbalizing emotions, may influence this relationship. This study examined 231 patients (56% females, M age=50 years) with chest pain seeking cardiac evaluation, who showed no abnormalities during exercise tolerance testing. Forty percent (40%) scored at or above the moderate range of alexithymia….

 Highlights: ► Health care utilization was associated with elevated alexithymia among men, and health care utilization was associated with elevated anxiety sensitivity among women. ► Alexithymia and anxiety sensitivity were uniquely, independently associated with pain severity and life interference due to non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP). ► Alexithymia-chest pain associations were stronger for men than women. ► Secondary analyses showed that alexithymia was mostly stable over 6, 12, and 18-month follow-up time periods.