Purpose: Alexithymia, a personality trait characterized by difficulties in emotional processing, has been associated with unhealthy behaviors and chronic medical conditions. This study aimed to further develop our understanding of this complex relationship by investigating whether alexithymia increases the risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in participants with obesity or overweight through the mediating role of binge eating (BE). Methods: A consecutive sample of 238 treatment-seeking patients with obesity or overweight were recruited. Alexithymia (TAS-20), binge eating symptoms (BES), body mass index (BMI), and depression and anxiety symptoms (HADS) were concurrently assessed. Results: Almost half of the participants met the criteria for MetS (44.12%). Compared to patients without MetS, those with MetS were older, had a longer duration of overweight, and had a higher BMI (p < 0.01). Individual with MetS also had higher HADS, BES, and TAS-20 scores, particularly difficulty identifying and describing feelings. The structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis revealed that BES levels exerted a significant direct effect on MetS (p < 0.01), and that TAS-20 levels exerted a significant direct effect on BES (p < 0.01), anxiety (p < 0.001) and depression (p < 0.001). Moreover, psychological distress (anxiety, p = 0.01, and depression, p = .05) indirectly affected MetS through the mediating effect of BES, and TAS-20 (p = 0.01) indirectly affected MetS through the mediating effect of HADS and BES. Finally, age had a significant direct effect on MetS (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Our findings indicate that alexithymia is a concurrent causative factor to the development of MetS through the mediating role of BE and psychological distress.

Alexithymia and metabolic syndrome: the mediating role of binge eating

Conti C.
;
Lanzara R.;Guagnano M. T.;Porcelli P.
2021

Abstract

Purpose: Alexithymia, a personality trait characterized by difficulties in emotional processing, has been associated with unhealthy behaviors and chronic medical conditions. This study aimed to further develop our understanding of this complex relationship by investigating whether alexithymia increases the risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in participants with obesity or overweight through the mediating role of binge eating (BE). Methods: A consecutive sample of 238 treatment-seeking patients with obesity or overweight were recruited. Alexithymia (TAS-20), binge eating symptoms (BES), body mass index (BMI), and depression and anxiety symptoms (HADS) were concurrently assessed. Results: Almost half of the participants met the criteria for MetS (44.12%). Compared to patients without MetS, those with MetS were older, had a longer duration of overweight, and had a higher BMI (p < 0.01). Individual with MetS also had higher HADS, BES, and TAS-20 scores, particularly difficulty identifying and describing feelings. The structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis revealed that BES levels exerted a significant direct effect on MetS (p < 0.01), and that TAS-20 levels exerted a significant direct effect on BES (p < 0.01), anxiety (p < 0.001) and depression (p < 0.001). Moreover, psychological distress (anxiety, p = 0.01, and depression, p = .05) indirectly affected MetS through the mediating effect of BES, and TAS-20 (p = 0.01) indirectly affected MetS through the mediating effect of HADS and BES. Finally, age had a significant direct effect on MetS (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Our findings indicate that alexithymia is a concurrent causative factor to the development of MetS through the mediating role of BE and psychological distress.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/730975
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