The relationship between somatosensory amplification, alexithymia, and neuroticism

Thomas N. Wise, Lee S. Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Both amplification of normal visceral phenomena and the personality trait of alexithymia are factors in the process of somatization, whereby somatic symptoms become metaphors for emotional distress. The relationship between these two variables was investigated in 101 psychiatric out-patients. Each subject was administered the Somatosensory Amplification Scale (SSA); the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS); the NEO-FFI, which measures five personality factors; and the health locus of control (HLC). In addition, anxiety and depression were quantitatively measured. SSA and TAS significantly correlated only in the female subjects. A regression model found neuroticism to contribute the most variance in predicting SSA while TAS did not fit into the model. Amplification is a perceptual element in potentiating somatization, whereas alexithymia contributes to the cognitive aspects of the process. The role of neuroticism is discussed as a mediating factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-521
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Alexithymia
  • Hypochondriasis
  • Locus of control
  • Neuroticism
  • Somatization
  • Somatosensory amplification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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