Alexithymia and autistic traits as possible predictors for traits related to depression, anxiety, and stress: A multivariate statistical approach

Julia Fietz, Noel Valencia, Giorgia Silani

Rationale, aims, and objectives: Our study focused on the general population and explored the relationships between autistic traits and alexithymia, on the one hand, and traits related to depression, anxiety, and stress, on the other, using a multivariate statistical approach. In previous research, autistic traits and alexithymia have been linked to these traits both in clinical populations and in the general population. We also investigated a possible multiplicative effect of autistic traits and alexithymia and attempted to determine which of these two variables is the better predictor for health outcomes.

Methods: An online survey was conducted, and 302 participants were included in the statistical analysis. A structural equation modelling approach was chosen, and a model based on prior findings was designed and tested by using IBM SPSS AMOS 21.

Results: The results showed significant, medium-sized effects of alexithymia on depression, anxiety, and stress. Additionally, a medium-sized significant effect of autistic traits on depression, a small significant effect on stress, and a small nonsignificant effect on anxiety were found. The interaction term of alexithymia and autistic traits had no significant effects on any of the endogenous variables.

Conclusions: Alexithymia can be considered the better predictor for anxiety in this sample, and it is unlikely that a multiplicative effect of alexithymia and autistic traits exists. The use of multivariate statistical methods provided additional information for understanding the investigated constructs and their interdependence.

Institut für Klinische und Gesundheitspsychologie
Externe Organisation(en)
Universität Wien
Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Anzahl der Seiten
ÖFOS 2012
501010 Klinische Psychologie
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, Health policy
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