The association of alexithymia and internet gaming disorder in a clinical German sample
Background: In 2022 Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD), encoded as a disorder due to addictive behaviours, will be added to the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Despite there are a lot of nonclinical studies still little is known about the personality profile of patients suffering from IGD. The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between alexithymia and IGD and to test whether alexithymia could predict internet addiction severity. Methods: In a cross-sectional design 22 male patients aged between 18 and 43 years (M=26.09, SD=6.60) diagnosed with IGD completed questionnaires measuring alexithymia (TAS-20) and internet addiction severity (s-IAT). Results: Compared with a group of healthy male controls aged between 19 and 45 years (M=28.86, SD=6.55) patients with IGD scored significantly higher in all three components of alexithymia: 1. Difficulties Identifying Feelings (DIF), F(1,42)=22.51, p<.000, 2. Difficulties Describing Feelings (DDF), F(1,42)=22.14, p<.000 and 3. Externally Oriented Thinking (EOT), F(1,42)=7.34, p=.010. Regression analysis showed no significant prediction effect of alexithymia on internet addiction severity.
Conclusion: Alexithymia and IGD seem to be associated, yet in this clinical sample the degree of alexithymia doesn’t predict the severity of IGD. Future research should focus on longitudinal designs in order to correctly analyse the causal relationship between alexithymia and IGD