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Annals of General Psychiatry

Open Access

Sleep disturbance symptoms and their associations with alexithymia, depression and anxiety

  • Dionisios Bratis1,
  • Asimoula Spanopoulou1,
  • Silvia Dumitru2,
  • Sofia Lagou2,
  • Christina Diamandi2,
  • Athanasios Tselebis1,
  • Georgios Moussas1,
  • Athanasios Karkanias1,
  • Sotirios Gyftopoulos2 and
  • Epaminondas Kosmas2
Annals of General Psychiatry20109(Suppl 1):S163

Published: 22 April 2010


Public HealthDemographic CharacteristicPearson CorrelationSleep DisturbanceBeck Depression Inventory


Several studies indicate that alexithymia and sleep disturbances (especially insomnia) coincide [1]. Aim of the present study is to record the levels of alexithymia, depression and anxiety in a sample of patients with sleep disturbances and to investigate the associations between the above factors.

Materials and methods

The study included fifty (40 male and 10 female) outpatients who were attended a sleep laboratory of our hospital seeking medical support for symptoms of sleep disturbances. Levels of Alexithymia [2], depression and anxiety [3] [4] were assessed, by using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Spielberger Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Age and education level were also recorded.


Mean BDI score was 10.8 ± 6.0, mean STAI score was 45.0 ± 11.0 and mean TAS-20 score was 53.8 ± 14.3. Mean age and education level were 54.2 ± 13 and 10.0 ± 4.1, respectively. No correlation was observed between the demographic characteristics of the sample and the scores of the clinical measurements (Pearson correlation p > 0.05). In contrary, a strong positive correlation was presented between TAS-20, BDI and STAI.


Our preliminary findings confirm the existence of the association between the sleep disturbance symptoms, alexithymia, depression and anxiety. However, some questions remains: are the associations between sleep disturbances and alexithymia caused by depression and/or anxiety or are independent of them? Further studies are required in order to clarify it.

Authors’ Affiliations

Dept. of Psychiatry, Sotiria General Hospital of Chest Diseases, Athens, Greece
Sleep-Disordered Breathing Laboratory of 3rd Dept. of Pulmonary Medicine, Sotiria General Hospital of Chest Diseases, Athens, Greece


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© Bratis et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.