Alexithymia in an unconventional sample of Forestry Officers: a clinical psychological study with surprising results

Sebastiano Gangemi, Luisa Ricciardi, Andrea Caputo, Concetto Giorgianni, Fabiana Furci, Giovanna Spatari, Gabriella Martino


Background: Clinical psychological dynamics are known as effective in the onset of medical conditions. In this regard, alexithymia represents a well-recognized and studied phenomenon, whose study is attracting academic attention. Its relations with several conditions have found consistent resonance in the clinical fields, so that the application of clinical models to disregarded populations represents a relevant clinical opportunity. The current study was aimed at extending alexithymia study to a population consisting of State Forestry officers, including significant variables as age and years of tenure.

Methods: The observation group consisted of 59 State Forestry officers, aged between 48 and 67 years old (SD=3.436). All subjects fully completed the protocol, consisting of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and a sociodemographic questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, correlational analyses, dependencies and statistical differences were performed in order to let significant relations emerge. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS 24.0 for the Window package.

Results: Descriptive statistics highlighted high scores related to all alexithymia factors (Difficulty Identifying Feelings, Difficulty Describing Feelings, Externally Oriented Thinking, TAS-20 Total score) in the considered individuals. Correlational analyses provided significant relations with reference to age, years of tenure and the whole set of alexithymic variables. Significant dependencies emerged among the selected predictors (age and years of tenure) and Tas-20 variables (including total score), as well as significant differences between two selected groups (<38 and >38 years of tenure).

Conclusion: Alexithymia emerged as particularly present in the considered population of State Forestry officers, demonstrating its sensibility with reference to age and years of tenure variables. The study of psychological phenomena affecting general subjects’ condition represent an extension of a present research field of high innovativeness, considering the lack of knowledge referred to the selected sample. Furter studies should increase the number of included individuals in order to favor the extension of the emerged results.


Alexithymia; Clinical Psychology; Workers; Psychosomatics; T.A.S.-20; Toronto Alexithymia Scale.

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