Expression of anger and alexithymia in patients with psychogenic excoriation: A preliminary report

Calikusu C., Yucel B., Polat A. Ö., BAYKAL C.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY IN MEDICINE, vol.32, no.4, pp.345-352, 2002 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Objective: Psychogenic excoriation (PE), which is characterized by lesions formed by self-picking, has a significant place among the dermatoses related to psychological factors. Emotions, particularly anger that cannot be expressed, may be important in the etiology. The objective of this study was to evaluate the sociodemographic characteristics of patients with PE and with another psychodermatosis, and compare them in terms of anger, manner of anger expression, and alexithymia. Methods: Thirty-one consecutive subjects with PE and thirty-one patients with chronic urticaria were recruited from an outpatient dermatology clinic. All of the subjects completed Toronto Alexithymia Scale and Trait Anger and Anger Expression Scale. Results: PE patients had higher levels of anger (p < .01), tended not to show their anger (p < .05), and were more alexithymia (p < .05). There was also a positive correlation between anger and alexithymia scores (r = .49, p < .05). Discussion: PE, a severe and chronic psychiatric and dermatological problem, may be related to affect-regulation, particularly anger and alexithymia. Due to the fact that it has a different place among psychodermatoses, individuals with PE might benefit from learning how to regulate their affects other than by excoriation.