Alexithymia explains increased empathic personal distress in individuals with and without eating disorders. / Brewer, Rebecca; Cook, Richard; Catmur, Caroline; Cardi, Valentina; Treasure, Janet; Bird, Geoffrey.

In: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 04.12.2018, p. 1-10.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

E-pub ahead of print

Standard

Alexithymia explains increased empathic personal distress in individuals with and without eating disorders. / Brewer, Rebecca; Cook, Richard; Catmur, Caroline; Cardi, Valentina; Treasure, Janet; Bird, Geoffrey.

In: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 04.12.2018, p. 1-10.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvard

Brewer, R, Cook, R, Catmur, C, Cardi, V, Treasure, J & Bird, G 2018, 'Alexithymia explains increased empathic personal distress in individuals with and without eating disorders', The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1177/1747021818816051

APA

Brewer, R., Cook, R., Catmur, C., Cardi, V., Treasure, J., & Bird, G. (2018). Alexithymia explains increased empathic personal distress in individuals with and without eating disorders. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1177/1747021818816051

Vancouver

Brewer R, Cook R, Catmur C, Cardi V, Treasure J, Bird G. Alexithymia explains increased empathic personal distress in individuals with and without eating disorders. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2018 Dec 4;1-10. https://doi.org/10.1177/1747021818816051

Author

Brewer, Rebecca ; Cook, Richard ; Catmur, Caroline ; Cardi, Valentina ; Treasure, Janet ; Bird, Geoffrey. / Alexithymia explains increased empathic personal distress in individuals with and without eating disorders. In: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2018 ; pp. 1-10.

BibTeX

@article{9e840e6505a04e4a89f566fee4362e50,
title = "Alexithymia explains increased empathic personal distress in individuals with and without eating disorders",
abstract = "It is often assumed that empathy impairments are common in individuals with eating disorders (EDs), but empirical work has been limited and produced mixed results, making the clinical features and treatment needs of this population difficult to determine. Alexithymia, characterised by difficulties identifying and describing one’s own emotions, frequently co-occurs with EDs, and is associated with atypical recognition of, and empathy for, others’ emotions. The current study used an existing empathy for pain paradigm to determine whether atypical empathy in EDs stems from co-occurring alexithymia, rather than EDs per se. Empathy (specifically personal distress in response to others’ pain) was assessed in individuals with EDs (N = 21) and an alexithymia-matched control group (N = 22). Participants were simultaneously members of a high alexithymia (N = 16) or low alexithymia (N = 27) group, allowing the independent contributions of alexithymia and EDs to be determined. Participants judged the laterality of hands and feet in painful and non-painful situations, and the degree of empathic interference on RTs was measured. Results indicated that observation of painful stimuli impacted task performance in those with high levels of alexithymia more than those with low levels, but no effect of ED diagnosis was observed. These findings suggest that co-occurring alexithymia explains increased empathic personal distress in ED populations. Atypical empathy may therefore not be a core feature of EDs, and interventions aimed at improving empathy-related social functioning may only be necessary for patients who also have alexithymia. These findings emphasise the importance of determining the influence of co-occurring alexithymia when assessing empathy in clinical populations.",
author = "Rebecca Brewer and Richard Cook and Caroline Catmur and Valentina Cardi and Janet Treasure and Geoffrey Bird",
year = "2018",
month = "12",
day = "4",
doi = "10.1177/1747021818816051",
language = "English",
pages = "1--10",
journal = "The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology",
issn = "1747-0218",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Alexithymia explains increased empathic personal distress in individuals with and without eating disorders

AU - Brewer, Rebecca

AU - Cook, Richard

AU - Catmur, Caroline

AU - Cardi, Valentina

AU - Treasure, Janet

AU - Bird, Geoffrey

PY - 2018/12/4

Y1 - 2018/12/4

N2 - It is often assumed that empathy impairments are common in individuals with eating disorders (EDs), but empirical work has been limited and produced mixed results, making the clinical features and treatment needs of this population difficult to determine. Alexithymia, characterised by difficulties identifying and describing one’s own emotions, frequently co-occurs with EDs, and is associated with atypical recognition of, and empathy for, others’ emotions. The current study used an existing empathy for pain paradigm to determine whether atypical empathy in EDs stems from co-occurring alexithymia, rather than EDs per se. Empathy (specifically personal distress in response to others’ pain) was assessed in individuals with EDs (N = 21) and an alexithymia-matched control group (N = 22). Participants were simultaneously members of a high alexithymia (N = 16) or low alexithymia (N = 27) group, allowing the independent contributions of alexithymia and EDs to be determined. Participants judged the laterality of hands and feet in painful and non-painful situations, and the degree of empathic interference on RTs was measured. Results indicated that observation of painful stimuli impacted task performance in those with high levels of alexithymia more than those with low levels, but no effect of ED diagnosis was observed. These findings suggest that co-occurring alexithymia explains increased empathic personal distress in ED populations. Atypical empathy may therefore not be a core feature of EDs, and interventions aimed at improving empathy-related social functioning may only be necessary for patients who also have alexithymia. These findings emphasise the importance of determining the influence of co-occurring alexithymia when assessing empathy in clinical populations.

AB - It is often assumed that empathy impairments are common in individuals with eating disorders (EDs), but empirical work has been limited and produced mixed results, making the clinical features and treatment needs of this population difficult to determine. Alexithymia, characterised by difficulties identifying and describing one’s own emotions, frequently co-occurs with EDs, and is associated with atypical recognition of, and empathy for, others’ emotions. The current study used an existing empathy for pain paradigm to determine whether atypical empathy in EDs stems from co-occurring alexithymia, rather than EDs per se. Empathy (specifically personal distress in response to others’ pain) was assessed in individuals with EDs (N = 21) and an alexithymia-matched control group (N = 22). Participants were simultaneously members of a high alexithymia (N = 16) or low alexithymia (N = 27) group, allowing the independent contributions of alexithymia and EDs to be determined. Participants judged the laterality of hands and feet in painful and non-painful situations, and the degree of empathic interference on RTs was measured. Results indicated that observation of painful stimuli impacted task performance in those with high levels of alexithymia more than those with low levels, but no effect of ED diagnosis was observed. These findings suggest that co-occurring alexithymia explains increased empathic personal distress in ED populations. Atypical empathy may therefore not be a core feature of EDs, and interventions aimed at improving empathy-related social functioning may only be necessary for patients who also have alexithymia. These findings emphasise the importance of determining the influence of co-occurring alexithymia when assessing empathy in clinical populations.

U2 - 10.1177/1747021818816051

DO - 10.1177/1747021818816051

M3 - Article

SP - 1

EP - 10

JO - The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

JF - The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

SN - 1747-0218

ER -