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European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 461–470 | Cite as

Alexithymia and tic disorders: a study on a sample of children and their mothers

  • Paola R. Silvestri
  • Flavia Chiarotti
  • Sandra Giustini
  • Francesco CardonaEmail author
Original Contribution

Abstract

Tic disorders are neurodevelopmental disorders characterised by the presence of motor or phonic tics, or both. Patients with tic disorders commonly report premonitory urges of tics. Alexithymia is a psychological trait characterised by a difficulty in identifying and expressing one’s own feelings and by an externally oriented thinking. We aimed to explore alexithymia in children with tic disorders and in their mothers. Global alexithymia scores of both children with tic disorders and of their mothers did not differ from those of the participants from the control group. In the tic disorder group, however, both children and their mothers showed a cognitive style characterised by operational thinking and a lack of imaginative abilities. The mothers of children with tic disorder reported significantly higher parental stress. Alexithymia was not predictive of tic severity but was predictive of the severity of the premonitory urges. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Keywords

Tourette Tic disorders Premonitory urges Alexithymia Children Mothers 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human NeurosciencesSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Center for Behavioral Sciences and Mental HealthIstituto Superiore di SanitàRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Internal Medicine and Medical SpecialtiesSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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