In recent years, research on interoceptive abilities (i.e., sensibility, accuracy, and awareness) and their associations with emotional experience has flourished. Yet interoceptive abilities in alexithymia-a personality trait characterized by a difficulty in the cognitive interpretation of emotional arousal, which impacts emotional experience-remain under-investigated, thereby limiting a full understanding of subjective emotional experience processing. Research has proposed two contrasting explanations thus far: in one model, the dimensions of interoceptive sensibility and accuracy in alexithymia would increase; in the other model, they would decrease. Surprisingly, the contribution of interoceptive awareness has been minimally researched. In this study (N = 182), the relationship between participants' level of alexithymia and the three interoceptive dimensions was tested. Our results show that the higher the level of alexithymia is, the higher interoceptive accuracy and sensibility (R2 = 0.29 and R2 = 0.14); conversely, the higher the level of alexithymia is, the lower interoceptive awareness (R2 = 0.36). Moreover, an ROC analysis reveals that interoceptive awareness is the most accurate predictor of alexithymia, yielding over 92% accuracy. Collectively, these results support a coherent understanding of interoceptive abilities in alexithymia, whereby the dissociation of interoceptive accuracy and awareness may explain the underlying psycho-physiological mechanisms of alexithymia. A possible neurocognitive mechanism is discussed which suggests insurgence of psychosomatic disorders in alexithymia and related psychotherapeutic approaches.

Disentangling interoceptive abilities in alexithymia

Scarpazza, Cristina;Zangrossi, Andrea;Sartori, Giuseppe;
2021

Abstract

In recent years, research on interoceptive abilities (i.e., sensibility, accuracy, and awareness) and their associations with emotional experience has flourished. Yet interoceptive abilities in alexithymia-a personality trait characterized by a difficulty in the cognitive interpretation of emotional arousal, which impacts emotional experience-remain under-investigated, thereby limiting a full understanding of subjective emotional experience processing. Research has proposed two contrasting explanations thus far: in one model, the dimensions of interoceptive sensibility and accuracy in alexithymia would increase; in the other model, they would decrease. Surprisingly, the contribution of interoceptive awareness has been minimally researched. In this study (N = 182), the relationship between participants' level of alexithymia and the three interoceptive dimensions was tested. Our results show that the higher the level of alexithymia is, the higher interoceptive accuracy and sensibility (R2 = 0.29 and R2 = 0.14); conversely, the higher the level of alexithymia is, the lower interoceptive awareness (R2 = 0.36). Moreover, an ROC analysis reveals that interoceptive awareness is the most accurate predictor of alexithymia, yielding over 92% accuracy. Collectively, these results support a coherent understanding of interoceptive abilities in alexithymia, whereby the dissociation of interoceptive accuracy and awareness may explain the underlying psycho-physiological mechanisms of alexithymia. A possible neurocognitive mechanism is discussed which suggests insurgence of psychosomatic disorders in alexithymia and related psychotherapeutic approaches.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3392343
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