Interoception is the perception of internal bodily signals. It is considered fundamental to developing emotional awareness. For this reason, interoceptive deficits are often associated with alexithymia, a condition characterized by difficulty identifying feelings (DIF), difficulty describing feelings (DDF), and an externally-oriented style of thinking (EOT). Yet, the atypical interoception found in alexithymia might be of a similar type and/or more serious than those found in other partially overlapping constructs that entail emotional difficulties and behavioural patterns associated with specific emotional styles. Our study explores this issue by examining the relationship between the interoceptive deficits associated with alexithymia and the Big Five personality traits. A non-clinical sample (N = 504) completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, the Big Five Inventory and the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness. Data were analysed using a network analytic approach that conceives psychological traits as networks of interacting symptoms. The estimated network highlighted that EOT is the alexithymia component least associated with interoception and most associated with lower Openness to Experience. Conversely, DIF and Neuroticism are, respectively, the dimensions of alexithymia and the Big Five most highly associated with interoception. We also compared interoceptive abilities in the four groups of participants whose scores were a) high for both alexithymia and neuroticism, b) high only for alexithymia c), high only for neuroticism, and d) low for both. High alexithymia was especially associated with the tendency to ignore sensations of pain or discomfort, while neuroticism was more indicative of the tendency to worry about these sensations. These results suggest that while high alexithymia and neuroticism share some interoceptive deficits, others are unique to alexithymia and contribute to overall lower interoceptive ability in this condition. Our findings suggest that interventions to enhance awareness of bodily sensations can be beneficial especially for profiles who present high neuroticism and alexithymia.

Shared and unique interoceptive deficits in high alexithymia and neuroticism / Gaggero, Giulia; Dellantonio, Sara; Pastore, Luigi; Sng, Kelly H L; Esposito, Gianluca. - In: PLOS ONE. - ISSN 1932-6203. - ELETTRONICO. - 17:8(2022). [10.1371/journal.pone.0273922]

Shared and unique interoceptive deficits in high alexithymia and neuroticism

Gaggero, Giulia;Dellantonio, Sara;Pastore, Luigi;Esposito, Gianluca
2022

Abstract

Interoception is the perception of internal bodily signals. It is considered fundamental to developing emotional awareness. For this reason, interoceptive deficits are often associated with alexithymia, a condition characterized by difficulty identifying feelings (DIF), difficulty describing feelings (DDF), and an externally-oriented style of thinking (EOT). Yet, the atypical interoception found in alexithymia might be of a similar type and/or more serious than those found in other partially overlapping constructs that entail emotional difficulties and behavioural patterns associated with specific emotional styles. Our study explores this issue by examining the relationship between the interoceptive deficits associated with alexithymia and the Big Five personality traits. A non-clinical sample (N = 504) completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, the Big Five Inventory and the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness. Data were analysed using a network analytic approach that conceives psychological traits as networks of interacting symptoms. The estimated network highlighted that EOT is the alexithymia component least associated with interoception and most associated with lower Openness to Experience. Conversely, DIF and Neuroticism are, respectively, the dimensions of alexithymia and the Big Five most highly associated with interoception. We also compared interoceptive abilities in the four groups of participants whose scores were a) high for both alexithymia and neuroticism, b) high only for alexithymia c), high only for neuroticism, and d) low for both. High alexithymia was especially associated with the tendency to ignore sensations of pain or discomfort, while neuroticism was more indicative of the tendency to worry about these sensations. These results suggest that while high alexithymia and neuroticism share some interoceptive deficits, others are unique to alexithymia and contribute to overall lower interoceptive ability in this condition. Our findings suggest that interventions to enhance awareness of bodily sensations can be beneficial especially for profiles who present high neuroticism and alexithymia.
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Gaggero, Giulia; Dellantonio, Sara; Pastore, Luigi; Sng, Kelly H L; Esposito, Gianluca
Shared and unique interoceptive deficits in high alexithymia and neuroticism / Gaggero, Giulia; Dellantonio, Sara; Pastore, Luigi; Sng, Kelly H L; Esposito, Gianluca. - In: PLOS ONE. - ISSN 1932-6203. - ELETTRONICO. - 17:8(2022). [10.1371/journal.pone.0273922]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/352923
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