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Abstract

The relationship of alexithymia to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology was examined cross-sectionally in 166 urban police officers surveyed between 1998 and 1999 and prospectively in 54 of these officers who participated in a follow-up survey after the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks. In cross-sectional analyses, alexithymia scores were positively associated with PTSD symptom levels and self-reported childhood emotional abuse--neglect, but not with cumulative level of critical incident exposure. Alexithymia scores accounted for 11.2% of the variance in PTSD symptoms prior to accounting for additional predictors, but did not retain significance in the final model. In prospective analyses, alexithymia scores significantly predicted 9/11-related PTSD symptom severity over and above pre-9/11 PTSD symptoms.