The Relationship Between Alexithymia and Impulsiveness in Adult Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder

2021 32(2): 109-117
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Objective: It has been emphasised recently that emotion regulation
problems may be the core symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD). In this study, we aimed to determine the incidence
of alexithymia, the relationship between alexithymia and impulsiveness,
the severity of ADHD, depression and anxiety semptoms in adult
Method: All participants were assessed with the Structured Clinical
Interview For DSM IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I); and completed
the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), the Impulsive Behavior Scale
(UPPS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Beck Anxiety
Inventory (BAI), Adult Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder
Self Reporting Scale (ASRS) and the Wender Utah Rating Scale
(WURS). The ADHD patients were also assessed with the Diagnostic
Interview for ADHD (DIVA) for DSM-5 criteria.
Results: The study included 101 ADHD patients with a mean age
of 23.06 ± 4.24 years with 47.5% females, and 100 healthy control
individuals with a mean age of 22.76 ± 5.68 years with 50% female
participants. Alexithymia incidence was 41.5% in the ADHD group.
The increase in the levels of impulsiveness, depression and anxiety
correlated with the severity of ADHD symptoms; and impulsiveness
predicted alexithymia in the ADHD group.
Conclusion: Alexithymia incidence was higher in the ADHD group.
When ADHD and control participants were combined, alexithymic
individuals was more associated with impulsivity with frequent display
of anxiety symptoms.