Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

11-2002

Abstract

Objectives: This study investigates: (1) which personality traits are typical of medical students as compared to other students, and (2) which personality traits predict medical student performance in pre-clinical years. Design: This paper reports a cross-sectional inventory study of students in nine academic majors and a prospective longitudinal study of one cohort of medical students assessed by inventory during their first pre-clinical year and by university examination at the end of each pre-clinical year. Subjects and methods: In 1997, a combined total of 785 students entered medical studies courses in five Flemish universities. Of these, 631 (80.4%) completed the NEO-PI-R (i.e. a measure of the Five-Factor Model of Personality). This was also completed by 914 Year 1 students of seven other academic majors at Ghent University. Year end scores for medical students were obtained for 607 students in Year 1, for 413 in Year 2, and for 341 in Year 3. Results: Medical studies falls into the group of majors where students score highest on extraversion and agreeableness. Conscientiousness (i.e. self-achievement and self-discipline) significantly predicts final scores in each pre-clinical year. Medical students who score low on conscientiousness and high on gregariousness and excitement-seeking are significantly less likely to sit examinations successfully. Conclusions: The higher scores for extraversion and agreeableness, two dimensions defining the interpersonal dynamic, may be beneficial for doctors' collaboration and communication skills in future professional practice. Because conscientiousness affects examination results and can be reliably assessed at the start of a medical study career, personality assessment may be a useful tool in student counselling and guidance.

Keywords

Education, medical undergraduate, psychology, clinical competence, standards, personality, educational measurement, Belgium

Discipline

Human Resources Management | Organizational Behavior and Theory

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources

Publication

Medical Education

Volume

36

Issue

11

First Page

1050

Last Page

1056

ISSN

0308-0110

Identifier

10.1046/j.1365-2923.2002.01328.x

Publisher

Wiley: 12 months

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2923.2002.01328.x

Share

COinS