Cross-cultural psychometric assessment of the Bermond-Vorst alexithymia questionnaire.

Ramiro Verissimo, Bob Bermond


The alexithymia construct was introduced by Nemiah and Sifneos in the early 70s. It is a multifaceted personality construct that has been recognized associated with various conditions of health disorders. Nonetheless, despite the abundant literature, due to methodological weaknesses, a great share of the studies has been proved of questionable validity and reliability. In recent years a new self-report instrument has been developed, the Bermond-Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire (BVAQ), meant to assess the alexithymia construct in a more comprehensive way than the more commonly used 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). The aim was to investigate the cross-cultural psychometric properties of the Portuguese version of the BVAQ. In this study, carried out in a sample of university students (n = 369), we began testing the originally proposed 5-factor structure, by means of a factor analysis; just to proceed thereafter with the internal consistencies determination. Furthermore we investigated the stability, as well as its convergent validity with the Toronto Alexithymia Scale--20 items (TAS-20). Principal Components Analysis showed that internal structure of the 40 items acceptably fitted into the 5-factor solution. The mean total score differs about 0.6 SD from the original Dutch sample. Internal consistencies are also acceptably about the ones in the original sample: Cronbach's alpha = 0.82 for the global scale and a mean 0.77 for the subscales. Moreover the instrument is reliably stable; and the expected correlations between BVAQ and TAS-20 subscales support evidence of BVAQ's validity. The Portuguese version of the BVAQ is a highly promising new instrument to comprehensively assess alexithymia, and its use can therefore be recommended.

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