Objectives: Personality disorder functioning styles might contribute to the inconclusive findings about alexithymic features in schizophrenia. We therefore studied the relationship between alexithymia and personality styles in paranoid schizophrenia. Methods: We administered the Chinese versions of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), the Parker Personality Measure (PERM), the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale as well as the Hamilton Anxiety and Depression Scales to 60 paranoid schizophrenia patients and 60 healthy control subjects. Results: Patients scored significantly higher on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, TAS 'difficulty identifying feelings' and 'difficulty describing feelings', Hamilton Depression Scale and most PERM scales. In healthy subjects, difficulty identifying feelings predicted the PERM 'dependent' style, and the Hamilton Anxiety Scale predicted difficulty identifying feelings and difficulty describing feelings. In patients, difficulty identifying feelings nonspecifically predicted all the PERM scales; by contrast, the PERM 'antisocial' style predicted difficulty identifying feelings, the 'avoidant' style predicted difficulty describing feelings, and the 'histrionic' and 'paranoid (-)' styles predicted 'externally oriented thinking'. Conclusions: Personality disorder functioning styles - instead of anxiety, depression, psychotic symptoms or disease duration - were specifically associated with alexithymia scales in our patients, which sheds light on a cognitive- personological substrate in paranoid schizophrenia on the one hand, and calls for a longitudinal design to discover how premorbid or postacute residual personality styles contribute to the sluggish disorder on the other. Copyright 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.
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