Background: The relationship between alexithymia and dissociation is not known. Both mechanisms ward off overwhelming affective states; hence, this report examines the relationship between dissociation, alexithymia, depressed mood and the five-factor model of personality in a sample of psychiatric outpatients. Methods: One hundred and sixteen outpatients were evaluated using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES), NEO Five-Factor Inventory and visual analog scales assessing depression and anxiety. Data was analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance, logistic regression and linear regression techniques. Results: Depressed mood accounted for the group differences between the global TAS and DES scores. Using DES both dimensionally and categorically with regression models, there was minimal contribution of DES or its subfactors to predict TAS. Conclusions: These data reaffirm previous findings that dissociation fundamentally differs from alexithymia. Dissociation involves a change of one’s sense, of self, whereas alexithymia reflects a cognitive state of externally oriented thinking with an inability to identify and report discrete emotions.

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