Alexithymia, craving and attachment in a heavy drinking population

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Journal Article

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Interim status: Citation only.

Thorberg, F. A., Young, R. M., Sullivan, K. A., Connor, J. P. & Feeney, G. F. X. (2011). Alexithymia, craving and attachment in a heavy drinking population. Addictive behaviors, 36(4), 427-430.

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2011 HERDC submission. FoR code: 170101

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Up to fifty per cent of individuals with Alcohol use disorders (AUD) also have alexithymia a personality construct hypothesized to be related to attachment difficulties. The relationship between alexithymia, craving, anxious attachment and alcohol-dependence severitywas examined in254 patients participating in a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) programfor alcohol-dependence. Participants completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), the Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale (OCDS), the Revised Adult Attachment Anxiety Subscale (RAAS-Anxiety) and the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). MANOVA indicated that individuals with alexithymia reported significantly higher levels of totalOCDS, obsessive thoughts about alcohol, and compulsive drinking urges and behavior, compared to the non-alexithymic group. Regression analyses found that anxious attachment partially mediated the relationship between alexithymia and craving. Anxious attachment may be a potential treatment target to reduce alcohol consumption in those with alcohol-dependence and alexithymia.

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This document has been peer reviewed.