The role of alexithymia in quality of life impairment in patients with chronic hepatitis C during antiviral treatment

Raffaele Cozzolongo, Piero Porcelli, Elsa Lanzilotta, Vito Giannuzzi, Gioacchino Leandro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aimed to investigate the role of alexithymia in the quality of life of patients with chronic hepatitis C treated with antiviral therapy. A consecutive sample of 124 patients were evaluated at baseline, during, and 6 months after treatment with interferon and ribavirin. At baseline past mood disorders and alexithymia and, at each index visit, adverse events, psychological distress, and disease-specific quality of life were assessed with validated instruments. Patients with past mood disorders and alexithymia had impaired levels of quality of life, psychological distress, and treatment-related adverse events. However, after controlling for covariates, poor quality of life was independently predicted by alexithymia and psychological distress before (R2 = 0.60) and 6 months after (R2 = 0.69) the antiviral treatment while during treatment (at 3 months and the end of therapy) by depression and somatic adverse events (R2 = 0.67 and 0.69, respectively). Alexithymia rather than history of mood disorders resulted to be an independent predictor of impaired quality of life not only before but also 6 months after the end of treatment. Given the association with proneness to health-compromising behaviors, clinicians are encouraged to pay closer attention to long-term psychological and somatic effects of antiviral treatment in patients with alexithymic characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine(all)


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