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Overcontrolled, undercontrolled, and resilient personality styles among patients with eating disorders

  • Isaksson, Martina1
  • Ghaderi, Ata2, 3
  • Wolf-Arehult, Martina1, 4
  • Ramklint, Mia1
  • 1 Uppsala University, Entrance 10, Floor 3B, Uppsala, SE-751 85, Sweden , Uppsala (Sweden)
  • 2 Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, SE-171 77, Sweden , Stockholm (Sweden)
  • 3 Stockholm Centre for Eating Disorders, Stockholm Health Care Services, Stockholm County Council, Stockholm, SE-171 77, Sweden , Stockholm (Sweden)
  • 4 Psychiatry Northwest, Region Stockholm, Clinical Management, Sollentuna, SE-191 22, Sweden , Sollentuna (Sweden)
Published Article
Journal of Eating Disorders
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Apr 16, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s40337-021-00400-0
Springer Nature


BackgroundPersonality has been suggested to be an important factor in understanding onset, maintenance, and recovery from eating disorders (ED). The objective of the current study was to evaluate personality style in different ED diagnostic groups as classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition (DSM-5).MethodsThe overcontrolled, undercontrolled, and resilient personality styles were compared in four groups of patients with EDs: anorexia nervosa restricting (ANr) (n = 34), anorexia nervosa binge eating/purging (ANbp) (n = 31), atypical anorexia nervosa (AAN) (n = 29), and bulimia nervosa (BN) (n = 76). These groups were compared with a group of patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) (n = 108), and a non-clinical group (NC) (n = 444). Patient data were collected at two outpatient clinics in Uppsala, Sweden. NC control data were collected through convenience sampling. Participants filled out questionnaires assessing personality style.ResultsThe main findings were more pronounced overcontrol reported by the ANr and AAN groups compared with the BN, BPD, and NC groups, and no significant difference in resilience between the ED and the NC groups. Considerable variability of over- and undercontrol was also found within each group.ConclusionsThe results replicate previous findings when EDs are classified according to current diagnostic criteria (DSM-5). Taking personality styles into account may improve our understanding of certain characteristics in EDs, such as social deficits and rigidity that are attributed to poor treatment outcome.

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