Schizophrenia patients might experience difficulties in applying two widely used emotion regulation strategies, reappraisal and suppression. We investigated the relationships among emotion regulation strategies, alexithymia (i.e. inability to identify and verbalize feelings) and the role of pre-morbid IQ on alexithymia in schizophrenia. Participants comprised 31 schizophrenia patients and 44 healthy subjects who were tested on measures of emotion regulation strategies (ERQ), alexithymia (BVAQ) and pre-morbid IQ (NART). Patients reported significantly more use of suppression strategies and tended to use reappraisal strategies less frequently. Patients differed significantly on the cognitive-emotional component of alexithymia. This difference remained significant even with pre-morbid IQ as a covariate, but disappeared with depression as a covariate. Schizophrenia patients have specific difficulties identifying their feelings. These difficulties were related to symptoms of depression. Interventions specifically targeted at affect regulation and recognition of emotional state could promote emotional well-being in schizophrenia patients.
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