Alexithymia in nonviolent offenders

Cate L. Parry, David A. Preece, Maria M. Allan, Alfred Allan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Alexithymia is a trait involving difficulties processing emotions. Existing data suggest it is associated with violent offending. In violent offender programmes, therefore, violent offenders are screened for alexithymia and it is attended to if necessary. No studies have, however, examined alexithymia levels in nonviolent offenders and it is, therefore, unknown whether it is also a criminogenic factor in this population. Aims: To investigate alexithymia levels among incarcerated nonviolent offenders and compare them with a community comparison group. Method: The 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale was used to compare the alexithymia levels of 67 incarcerated nonviolent offenders with a group of 139 people from the general public living in the community. Results: Alexithymia levels did not differ between the groups. Conclusion: It appears that alexithymia is not a criminogenic factor for nonviolent offenders and screening of such offenders appears unnecessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
JournalCriminal Behaviour and Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


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