Abstract The concept of alexithymia refers to difficulties in experiencing, verbalizing and regulating emotions. The relationship between alexithymia and interpersonal style is investigated by means of lexical content analysis. It is hypothesized that alexithymia is related to less frequent and less varied use of communication words and references to others. Alexithymia was measured with the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale and the Toronto Structured Interview for Alexithymia. The Clinical Diagnostic Interview was administered to 50 psychiatric inpatients, transcribed verbatim, and computer-analysed with the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count-dictionary. Results showed that alexithymia is related to a less complex vocabulary for communication words. Contradictory results for some subscales of the TAS-20 and the TSIA however compromise their construct validity.