DOI: 10.3390/ejihpe14030044 ISSN: 2254-9625

Alexithymia as a Risk Factor for an Internet Addiction in Adolescents and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Magdalena Anna Skotalczyk, Karolina Anna Dąbrowska, Joanna Smorońska-Rypel, Krzysztof Maria Wilczyński, Małgorzata Janas-Kozik
  • Applied Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

The aim of the study is to investigate the association of alexithymia with Internet addiction and autism spectrum disorders among adolescents and young adults. The links between alexithymia, ASD and other mental disorders are still a largely unexplored topic in psychiatry. An intriguing question is to what extent alexithymia can be a component of the clinical picture of ASD, and to what extent it is an independent phenomenon often co-occurring with ASD. The study group consisted of young Poles aged 11 to 35 (n = 229), including women (n = 167; 73%), men (n = 53; 23%) and non-binary people (n = 9; 4%). The following questionnaires were used in the Polish validated version as screening tools and shared online: AQ (Autism Quotient), TAS-20 (Toronto Alexithymia Scale), IAT (Internet Addiction Test). Among the subjects, 15 people admitted that they had received an official diagnosis of ASD, while 26 people showed a significantly increased severity of autistic traits on the AQ questionnaire. People with ASD who also exhibit alexithymia features are certainly more prone to problematic use of the Internet. In contrast, such a risk in people with ASD without alexithymia is comparable to the general population.

More from our Archive