Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2010 , Vol 56 , Num 3

Alexithymia, Temperament and Character Characteristics in Women with Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Erkan Kaya 1 ,Deniz Erden 2 ,Ali Hikmet Kayar 2 ,Mehmet Zeki Kıralp 3
1 Mareşal Çakmak Asker Hastanesi, Fiziksel Tıp ve Rehabilitasyon Servisi, Erzurum, Türkiye
2 Bursa Asker Hastanesi, Fizik Tedavi ve Rehabilitasyon Servisi, Bursa, Türkiye
3 Gülhane Askeri Tıp Akademisi Haydarpaşa Eğitim Hastanesi Fiziksel Tıp ve Rehabilitasyon Servisi, İstanbul, Türkiye
DOI : 10.4274/tftr.56.105

Objective: Somatic and psychic symptoms are seen in the fibromyalgia syndrome. And it is suggested that these psychic factors plays an important role in the clinical presentation of this syndrome. This study was planned to understand fibromyalgia through investigating the role of alexthymia, temperemant and character in the clinic of this illness. 

Materials and Methods: This study was carried out in the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation outpatient clinic on 36 women with fibromyalgia syndrome and 34 healthy women. The subjects were evaluated by the Temperament and Character Inventory, the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale, Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Beck Depression Scale, and sociodemographic data form.

Results: These two groups were similar to each other in terms of age, years of education, and marital and economical status. Harm avoidance subscale, persistence, depression and alexithymia scores were higher in the fibromyalgia syndrome group compared to the healthy control group.  A statistically significant correlation was detected between harm avoidance scores and depression scores in the fibromyalgia group.

Conclusion: After determination of character and temperament characteristics of patients with fibromyalgia, pharmacological agents especially increasing the serotonin levels should be used in the treatment of fibromyalgia. At the same time, the prevalence of alexithymic personality   should be kept in mind, and coping strategies for strengthening the patient’s vocabulary and revealing his/her emotions should be developed. 

Keywords : Alexithymia, character, depression, fibromyalgia, temperament