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Identifying overcontrol and undercontrol personality types among young people using the five factor model, and the relationship with disordered eating behaviour, anxiety and depression.

BACKGROUND: Overcontrol and undercontrol personality types have been associated with an increase in eating pathology, depression and anxiety. The aim of the research was to explore whether latent overcontrol and undercontrol personality types could be identified using cluster analysis of the facets of the five factor model (FFM). We further aimed to understand how these personality types were associated with eating pathology, depressed mood and anxiety.

METHODS: A total of 561 participants (394 women and 167 men), aged 16-30 years in Australia completed a survey designed to assess disordered eating, FFM personality traits, anxiety, depression and stress. A systematic four-step process using hierarchical, k-means, and random forest cluster analyses were used to identify a meaningful 3-cluster solution.

RESULTS: The results revealed a cluster solution that represented overcontrol, undercontrol and resilient personality types, and highlighted facets of the FFM that were associated with each type. Both overcontrol and undercontrol personality types were associated with increased clinical symptoms compared to the resilient types.

CONCLUSIONS: It was concluded that FFM facets may potentially be more meaningful than broad domains in identifying personality types, and that both overcontrol and undercontrol personality types are likely associated with increased clinical symptoms.

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