The purported association between alexithymia and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was investigated in a group of 112 IBD patients (89 with ulcerative colitis and 23 with Crohn’s disease) using the well-validated 20-Item Toronto Alexithymia Scale. Alexithymia was assessed also in a group of 112 normal subjects matched for gender, age, and education. The IBD group was significantly more alexithymic than the control group, and no significant difference was found between the ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease patients. Alexithymia was unrelated to the duration of illness and the level of disease activity. Although the rate of alexithymia in the IBD group (35.7%) was significantly higher than the rate in the control group (4.5%), it is lower than rates of alexithymia that have been found among psychiatric patients with disorders that also have been linked theoretically and clinically with alexithymia.

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