Background: Alexithymia is a personality trait characterized by deficits in regulating, experiencing and verbalizing emotions and has been assumed to be associated with a tendency to express emotional arousal through somatization. Although such a tendency is often observed in patients with dizziness, the exact relationship of alexithymia to dizziness is not yet known. The aim of this study was to examine alexithymic characteristics in patients with dizziness and its relation to health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Sampling and Methods: We assessed 208 patients from an interdisciplinary center for vertigo and balance disorders for characteristics of alexithymia (20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale), HRQoL (Short-Form 12 Health Survey, SF-12), dizziness (Dizziness Handicap Inventory), depression and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale). Hierarchical regression analyses were used to evaluate the relationship between alexithymia, dizziness and HRQoL. Results: We found that difficulties in identifying and describing feelings, two important factors of alexithymia, were significantly related to more severe symptoms of dizziness. More pronounced alexithymic characteristics were associated with lower HRQoL, especially in the mental dimension of the SF-12. The results remained significant after controlling for possibly confounding variables such as socioeconomic status and depression. Conclusions: These findings contribute to a better understanding of affect regulation in patients with dizziness, which is important for the development of psychotherapeutic interventions suitable for alexithymic patients with dizziness.

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