Assessing Alexithymia across Asian and Western Cultures: Psychometric Properties of the Perth Alexithymia Questionnaire and Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 in Singaporean and Australian Samples

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Abstract

Alexithymia refers to difficulties identifying feelings (DIF), describing feelings (DDF), and externally orientated thinking (EOT). Originally conceptualized by American psychiatrists, some researchers have since questioned the validity and application of this construct in Asian cultures. However, to date, there is little empirical work formally assessing the invariance of alexithymia across Asian and Western cultures. The present study aimed to help address this gap, by examining the psychometric properties and measurement invariance of two alexithymia measures, the Perth Alexithymia Questionnaire (PAQ) and Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 (TAS-20), across samples from Singapore (n = 434) or Australia (n = 489). The same theoretically congruent factor structure was supported across both samples; this structure was fully invariant across samples for the PAQ, and partially invariant for the TAS-20. Both measures had good internal consistency and concurrent validity across samples, except the TAS-20 EOT subscale which had low internal consistency and factor loadings in both samples. The Singaporean sample reported higher DIF and DDF for positive emotions than the Australian sample. Overall, our results support the cross-cultural validity and application of the alexithymia construct. The PAQ and TAS-20 both appear to have good utility in this respect, though the PAQ may provide a more detailed facet-level profile.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Personality Assessment
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

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