Zeitschrift für Depression und Angst

Zeitschrift für Depression und Angst
Offener Zugang

ISSN: 2167-1044


The Effect of an Early Rehabilitation on Alexithymia among First Ever Depressive Occupational Health Care Clients

Tero Raiskila, Sanna Blanco Sequeiros, Jorma Kiuttu, Marja-Liisa Kauhanen, Kristian Läksy, Kirsi Vainiemi, Annamari Tuulio-Henriksson, Helinä Hakko, Matti and Juha Veijola

Objectives: Depression is a common psychiatric disorder. Alexithymia and depression are highly associated. We explored the impact of an early vocationally orientated, eclectic rehabilitative intervention on alexithymia among clients with first ever diagnosed depressive episode.

Methods: Clients from occupational health care units were screened for depression with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and diagnosed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. The participants were randomized into intervention and control groups. The intervention group received eclectic early rehabilitative intervention and the control group was treated as usual. The intervention (N=134) and control groups (N=100) were compared using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) at the baseline and after one year follow-up.

Results: The prevalence of alexithymia decreased both in the intervention group (from 20.1% to 18.9%) and in the control group (from 16.0% to 7.1%). The prevalence of alexithymia was significantly lower at the follow up in the control group than in the intervention group (p=0.010). The changes in the mean scores of the four alexithymia variables between the groups were not statistically significant after adjusting for confounding factors.

Conclusions: The findings were against our hypothesis that alexithymia would diminish in the intervention group more than in the control group. There are several explanations for this unexpected result. We believe that the reasons were that the intervention was too short and that the group-shaped method was too demanding for the subjects with alexithymia.