Objectives. The paper presents a Bermond-Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire (BVAQ) subscale made up of items most markedly related to essential hypertension. A preliminary analysis of the subscale reliability and validity is also presented.
Method. The study was conducted in Boguszyce, a little town near Wrocław, as a part of local residents ' screening for cardiovascular diseases. Among 99 participants of the screening (71% women, 29% men, aged 19 to 73, median age 53 years), 42 persons (42%) were diagnosed with essential hypertension. The BVAQ items significantly differentiating between hypertensive and non-hypertensive respondents were identified and included in a separate subscale.
Results. No statistically significant differences were found between the two groups as regards the global BVAQ mean score and mean scores for particular dimensions of the questionnaire, except for verbalization. The following items were included in the hypertension-related subscale: 8, 11, 14, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30, 35, 36 and 39. The hypertension group scored on the subscale significantly lower than did nonhypertensive respondents (mean scores 24.68 and 34.72, respectively, p<0.000001). The intergroup difference remained statistically significant when age and education level were controlled for. The Cronbach a coefficient of the subscale internal consistency was 0.68. In factor analysis 4 factors were distinguished in the subscale: emotional reactivity, emotional identification, ability to verbalize, and to recognize emotions.
Conclusions. Mean scores on the Bermond-Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire subscale developed by the authors significantly differentiated between the hypertensive group and non-hypertensive controls. The subscale items indicate that persons with hypertension have a more pronounced emotional reactivity. Moreover, they are less skilled in recognizing and verbalizing their own emotions.