Medical speciality choice: does personality matter?
There has been increasing interest in the personalities of doctors. This study examined whether personality differed based upon gender, level of training or medical speciality among 200 physicians and 134 medical students. Post-internship doctors scored significantly higher on conscientiousness (p = .001) than those pursuing basic medical training. Among those pursuing basic medical training, females scored significantly higher than males on agreeableness (p < .001) and conscientiousness (p = .001). Among post-internship respondents, females scored significantly higher on agreeableness (p = .004). There were no personality differences between post-internship doctors working in different specialities. However, among those pursuing basic medical training, those interested in person-focused medical specialities scored significantly higher on extraversion (p < .001), conscientiousness (p = .001), and lower on neuroticism (p = .01) than those who had no strong preference. These results suggest that there is no unique personality profile associated with medical practice, or medical speciality. Instead, it appears that medical school may shape personality.