Personality differences between surgery residents, nonsurgery residents, and medical students.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: The Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality may provide a useful framework to understand performance-related issues in academic medical settings. We examined the distribution of FFM personality traits among surgery residents compared with medicine residents, medical students, and community norms. METHODS: Two hundred and seventy-four residents in surgery, medicine, pediatrics, and anesthesiology and 207 medical students at a large tertiary care teaching hospital completed the Big Five Inventory, a well-validated 44-item measure of the FFM. Analysis of covariance was used to examine specialty group differences in personality traits, controlling for desirable response bias. RESULTS: Surgery residents obtained greater scores for Conscientiousness, Extraversion, and Emotional Stability, but lower scores for Openness compared with community norms (all P < .05). Controlling for desirable responding, surgery residents also obtained greater Conscientiousness scores compared with medical students (P < .0001) and pediatric residents (P < .05), greater Extraversion scores compared with first-year medical students (P < .05), and lesser Openness scores compared with first-year medical students (P < .05). CONCLUSION: Greater levels of Conscientiousness, which has been associated with academic and job success in previous studies, were observed among surgery residents compared with community norms, medical students, and some residents. We conclude that (1) surgery residents continue to exhibit desirable professional characteristics; and (2) further study into the utility of the FFM as a screening tool for future surgery trainees is warranted.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hoffman, BM; Coons, MJ; Kuo, PC

Published Date

  • August 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 148 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 187 - 193

PubMed ID

  • 20570302

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-7361

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.surg.2010.04.005


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States