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Correlation between theory of mind and empathy among alexithymia college students

WANG Xue;LI Hongchen;ZHANG Lei;Department of Medical Psychology, Anhui Medical University;  
Objective To investigate the capability of empathy and theory of mind( To M) in alexithymia. Methods Thirty-six alexithymia patients and 32 age-, gender-and education background matching healthy controls were recruited. Chinese version of Interpersonal Reactivity Index( IRI-C) were used to measure empathy. Chinese version of Yoni task were used to measure To M.Results Compared to controls, accuracy of cognitive items was significantly lower in alexithymia [( 20.28 ± 3. 61) vs.( 21. 78 ±1.88) ]( P0.05). Second-order cognitive items was significantly lower in alexithymia [( 8.81±2.54) vs.( 10.19±1.28) ]( P0.01).Affective items was significantly lower in alexithymia [( 43.72± 6.91) vs.( 46.92 ± 4. 12) ]( P 0. 05). Second-order cognitive items was significantly lower in alexithymia [( 32.89±5.70) vs.( 35.53±3.33) ]( P 0.05). Alexithymia showed lower scores in factors of perspective taking [( 10.61± 3. 66) vs.( 12. 61 ± 4. 09) ]( P 0. 05), higher scores in factors of personal-distress [( 8. 83 ± 3. 64) vs.( 5.72±3.97) ]( P0.01) in IRI-C. Conclusion Alexithymia patients might have deficit in the capability of empathy and Theory of mind.
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