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Article

Alexithymia Profile in Relation to Negative Affect in Parents of Autistic and Typically Developing Young Children

1
Institute for Biomedical Research and Innovation (IRIB), National Research Council of Italy, 98164 Messina, Italy
2
S. Anna Institute and Research in Advanced Neurorehabilitation (RAN), 88900 Crotone, Italy
3
Centre for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Child Psychiatry Unit, Provincial Health Service of Catania (ASP CT), 95100 Catania, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These Authors contributed equally to the study.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(8), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10080496
Received: 25 May 2020 / Revised: 24 July 2020 / Accepted: 27 July 2020 / Published: 29 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Autism Research)
In our study, we explored the construct of alexithymia in parents of children with and without ASD using a multi-method approach based on self-rated and external rater assessment. We also assessed the level of self-report measures of negative affect states such as trait anxiety and depression, and investigated the correlation between the alexithymia construct, trait anxiety, and depression within the broader autism phenotype (BAP). A total sample of 100 parents (25 mothers and 25 fathers in each group) were administered the TAS-20 and the TSIA to measure self-reported and observer-rated alexithymia traits, as well as self-report measures of anxiety and depression. Study results showed that the TSIA but not the TAS-20 was able to detect significant group differences in alexithymia traits among parents of children with and without ASD, with parents of ASD children displaying significantly higher levels of alexithymia. Furthermore, differently from the TAS-20, no significant correlations between the TSIA and measures of anxiety and depression were detected. Taken together, our results suggest the importance of using multi-method approaches to control for potential measurement bias and to detect psychological constructs such as alexithymia in subclinical samples such as parents of children with ASD. View Full-Text
Keywords: autism; alexithymia; anxiety; depression; TAS-20; TSIA; parents; broader autism phenotype autism; alexithymia; anxiety; depression; TAS-20; TSIA; parents; broader autism phenotype
MDPI and ACS Style

Leonardi, E.; Cerasa, A.; Famà, F.I.; Carrozza, C.; Spadaro, L.; Scifo, R.; Baieli, S.; Marino, F.; Tartarisco, G.; Vagni, D.; Pioggia, G.; Ruta, L. Alexithymia Profile in Relation to Negative Affect in Parents of Autistic and Typically Developing Young Children. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 496. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10080496

AMA Style

Leonardi E, Cerasa A, Famà FI, Carrozza C, Spadaro L, Scifo R, Baieli S, Marino F, Tartarisco G, Vagni D, Pioggia G, Ruta L. Alexithymia Profile in Relation to Negative Affect in Parents of Autistic and Typically Developing Young Children. Brain Sciences. 2020; 10(8):496. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10080496

Chicago/Turabian Style

Leonardi, Elisa, Antonio Cerasa, Francesca I. Famà, Cristina Carrozza, Letteria Spadaro, Renato Scifo, Sabrina Baieli, Flavia Marino, Gennaro Tartarisco, David Vagni, Giovanni Pioggia, and Liliana Ruta. 2020. "Alexithymia Profile in Relation to Negative Affect in Parents of Autistic and Typically Developing Young Children" Brain Sciences 10, no. 8: 496. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10080496

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