Open Journal Systems

Alexithymia In Pregnant Women: Its Relationship With Depression

Monavar Gilanifar, Mouloud Agajani Delavar


Objective: Alexithymia is a personality construct characterized by the subclinical inability to identify and describe emotions in the self. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of alexithymia, among pregnant women and to assess the relationship between depression and alexithymia, as well as its sub scales with depression in the respondents. 

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) to determine respondents with alexithymia. Depression scores among respondents were measured using Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)-short version 13 items.

Results: A total of 390 pregnant women completed the self-report questionnaires. The prevalence of alexithymia was found to be 27.9%. Two hundred-one of the total 390 pregnant women were diagnosed with depression; 23.3% were classified as mild, 24.6% as moderate, and 3.6% as severe depression respectively. The alexithymia was found to have correlation with depression (r=0.148, P=0.032). A correlation was also found between depression and sub scales' scores, difficulty in identifying feelings, DIF (r= 0.374, P= 0.0001) and difficulty in describing feelings, DDF (r= 0.204, P= 0.0001). There was no significant correlation in an externally oriented thinking (EOT) and depression in pregnant female participants. After adjusting for possible confounding variables, women with alexithymia had a 2.67 increased risk of suffering from depression compared to women who did not have alexithymia.

Conclusions: This study shows a high prevalence of alexithymia in pregnant women in a community in Babol, Iran. The alexithymic women had more accentuated signs of depression than non-alexithymic women during the prenatal period. Therefore, it is important to screen pregnant women for an alexithymia, and include the mentioned education in pregnancy counseling classes in the private and public institutions.

Please click PDF below to download the full paper...


Alexithymia; Depression; Pregnancy

Full Text: