Alexithymia in multiple sclerosis: Relationship with fatigue and depression

B. Bodini, G. Mandarelli, V. Tomassini, L. Tarsitani, I. Pestalozza, C. Gasperini, G. L. Lenzi, P. Pancheri, C. Pozzilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective - The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of alexithymia in a sample of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and to further evaluate the association between alexithymia and the occurrence of common disabling MS-related symptoms such as fatigue and depression. Methods - Fifty-eight relapsing-remitting MS patients treated with interferon (IFN)-beta-1a underwent a complete neurological evaluation, including Expanded Disability Status Scale score assessment. Alexithymia, depressive symptoms and fatigue were assessed using the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale, Beck Depression Inventory and Fatigue Severity Scale. Results - Prevalence of alexithymia was 13.8%, with 27.6% of patients presenting borderline alexithymia. Sixty-seven per cent of the patients complained of fatigue while 29.3% of them were depressed. Higher levels of fatigue and depression were found in alexithymic patients when compared with non-alexithymic patients. Results from logistic regressions showed that alexithymia significantly contributes to the severity of fatigue and depression. Conclusions - Alexithymia was associated with increased severity of fatigue and depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • Alexithymia
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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    Bodini, B., Mandarelli, G., Tomassini, V., Tarsitani, L., Pestalozza, I., Gasperini, C., Lenzi, G. L., Pancheri, P., & Pozzilli, C. (2008). Alexithymia in multiple sclerosis: Relationship with fatigue and depression. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, 118(1), 18-23.