Comparing Sensory Information Processing and Alexithymia between People ‎with Substance Dependency and Normal

Document Type : Original Article(s)


1 Associate Professor, Faculty Member, Department of Psychology, School of Education Sciences ‎and Psychology, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, ‎Iran

2 Department of Education Sciences, School of Education Sciences and Psychology, University of ‎Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, ‎Iran

3 Department of Psychology, School of Education Sciences and Psychology, Allameh Tabataba'i ‎University, Tehran, Iran


Background: Sensory information processing and alexithymia are two important factors in determining behavioral reactions. Some studies explain the effect of the sensitivity of sensory processing and alexithymia in the tendency to substance abuse. Giving that, the aim of the current study was to compare the styles of sensory information processing and alexithymia between substance-dependent people and normal ones. Methods: The research method was cross-sectional and the statistical population of the current study comprised of all substance-dependent men who are present in substance quitting camps of Masal, Iran, in October 2013 (n = 78). 36 persons were selected randomly by simple randomly sampling method from this population as the study group, and 36 persons were also selected among the normal population in the same way as the comparison group. Both groups was evaluated by using Toronto alexithymia scale (TAS) and adult sensory profile, and the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) test was applied to analyze data. Findings: The results showed that there are significance differences between two groups in low registration (P < 0.020, F = 5.66), sensation seeking (P < 0.050, F = 1.92), and sensory avoidance (P < 0.008, F = 7.52) as a components of sensory processing and difficulty in describing emotions (P < 0.001, F = 15.01) and difficulty in identifying emotions (P < 0.002, F = 10.54) as a components of alexithymia. However, no significant difference were found between two groups in components of sensory sensitivity (P < 0.170, F = 1.92) and external oriented thinking style (P < 0.060, F = 3.60). Conclusion: These results showed that substance-dependent people process sensory information in a different way than normal people and show more alexithymia features than them.