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Paper title Different but Similar: Personality Traits of Surgeons and Internists
Paper code P44
  1. Martin N. Stienen Universitätsspital Zürich Speaker
  2. Felix Scholtes University Hospital of Liège, Liège, Belgium & Department of Neuroanatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
  3. Robin Samuel Research Unit INSIDE
  4. Alexander Weil University Hospital of Montréal, Montréal, Canada
  5. Astrid Weyerbrock Cantonal Hospital St.Gallen, St.Gallen, Switzerland
  6. Werner Surbeck Psychiatric Hosptal of the University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Form of presentation Poster
  • Joint SSNR | SSNS
Abstract text Aims: Medical practice may attract and possibly enhance distinct personality profiles. It was our objective to describe the personality profiles of surgical and medical specialties focusing on board-certified physicians.
Methods: A sample of 2345 board-certified physicians, 1453 residents and 1350 medical students in several European countries and Canada filled out the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI), an internationally validated measure of the Five Factor Model of personality dimensions. Differences in personality profiles were analyzed using MANOVA and Discriminant Function Analysis on age- and sex-standardized z-scores of the personality traits. Single personality traits were analyzed using robust t-tests.
Results: Normal population and board-certified physicians’ personality profiles differed. The latter scored higher on conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness, but lower on neuroticism. There was no difference in openness to experience. Board-certified surgical and medical doctors’ personality profiles were also different. Surgeons scored higher on extra-version and openness to experience, but lower on neuroticism. There was no difference in agreeableness and conscientiousness. These differences in personality profiles were reproduced at other levels of training, i.e., in students and training physicians engaging into surgical versus medical practice.
Conclusion: These results indicate the existence of a distinct and consistent average “physician personality”. Despite high variability within disciplines, there are moderate, but solid and reproducible differences between surgical and medical specialties.