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Title: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology : research portfolio
Author: Martin, Faith
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 9129
Awarding Body: University of Bath
Current Institution: University of Bath
Date of Award: 2014
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Objective: Somatisation as a process suggests that mood changes are responded to physically rather than psychologically. This concept is linked to “medically unexplained symptoms”, including conditions such as chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. Alexithymia, difficulty in identifying or expressing emotions, is the proposed causal mechanism. This study tested this proposal by measuring association between alexithymia and somatic symptoms and exploring whether experimentally induced mood changes are responded to by those with higher alexithymia scores with more physical than psychological sensations than those with lower alexithymia. Methods: A median split of Toronto Alexithymia Scale scores was used to create two groups (higher and lower alexithymia) from a sample of 21 participants with a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome and / or fibromyalgia. Participants rated mood and physical and psychological state at baseline and following sad and happy mood induction. Ratio scores of psychological over physical state ratings were calculated for each mood state. Measures of depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, acceptance, beliefs about emotions and health anxiety were also administered. Results: No correlation was found between alexithymia and intensity of somatic or psychological symptoms. There was no significant difference in ratio scores by mood or between those with higher or lower alexithymia. The mood manipulation did lead to changes in psychological sensations and physical sensations. Conclusion: The alexithymia hypothesis of medically unexplained symptoms was not supported in this study using a clinical sample. Further research should include a control group of people experiencing depression or anxiety without significant physical symptoms.
Supervisor: Russell, Ailsa Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available