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Psychomotor retardation and externally oriented thinking in major depression

Authors Luca M, Luca A, Calandra C

Received 1 March 2013

Accepted for publication 18 March 2013

Published 27 May 2013 Volume 2013:9 Pages 759—766

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S44650

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Maria Luca,1 Antonina Luca,2 Carmela Calandra1

1Department of Medical and Surgery Specialties, Psychiatry Unit of the University Hospital “Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele” of Catania (Sicily), Italy; 2Department of Neuroscience of the University Hospital “Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele” of Catania (Sicily), Italy

Objective: To investigate possible correlations between the tendency towards alexithymia and the depressive state, globally and with regard to the Toronto Alexithymia scale (TAS-20) subscales and the Hamilton rating scale for depression (HAM-D) subscales.
Methods: 75 patients, suffering from Unipolar Depression, were assessed through the HAM-D and the TAS-20 and compared to the control group (n = 63). Both groups were divided into two subgroups (30–60 years old; 61–80 years old). Correlations between the tendency towards alexithymia and depressive symptoms, globally and with regard to the TAS-20 subscales and the HAM-D subscales, were investigated.
Results: With regard to patients, a positive correlation was found between: the HAM-D total score and the TAS-20 total score; the HAM-D factor V (psychomotor retardation) and the TAS-20 total score; the TAS-20 subscale III (externally oriented thinking) and the HAM-D total score. In addition a positive correlation between the HAM-D factor V and the TAS-20 subscales I and III was found and confirmed among females. In patients aged 30–60 years, the HAM-D factor V was correlated with all the TAS-20 subscales. As to the control group, a positive correlation was found between: the HAM-D factor I (anxiety/somatization) and the TAS-20 total score; the TAS-20 subscale I and the HAM-D total score; the HAM-D factor I and the TAS-20 subscale. The latter was confirmed in the control group aged 30–60 years.
Conclusion: The link between alexithymia and affective symptoms has been confirmed in the patients and in the control group. An interesting data is the correlation between psychomotor retardation and externally oriented thinking among the patients. According to cognitive theories, psychomotor retardation could be related to feelings of incapacity perceived by an individual. A patient, with an externally oriented thinking, might run into a distorted perception of his own ability to function, thus causing a psychomotor “flattening”.

Keywords:
alexithymia, major depression, externally oriented thinking, psychomotor retardation, correlation alexithymia and depression

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