Relationship between personality traits and personality types and medical specialty chosen by a group of resident physicians

Relación entre rasgos y tipos de personalidad con la especialidad médica elegida por un grupo de médicos residentes
Jorge Humberto Ruiz Zavalaaa , Matilde Loreto Enríquez Sandovalb , Enrique Alfonso Gómez Sánchezc , Saúl Renán León Hernándezdd

a Investigación en Ciencias Médicas, Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación, Ciudad de México, México
b Dirección de Educación en Salud, Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación, Ciudad de México, México
c Dirección de Educación en Ciencias de la Salud, Instituto Nacional de Perinatología, Ciudad de México, México
d Unidad de Apoyo a la Investigación, Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación, Ciudad de México, México

Recibido el 7 de enero de 2016; aceptado el 30 de marzo de 2016

Palabras Clave

Personalidad, Especialidad, Género


Personality, Specialty, Gender


Introduction: The study of personality trait and type of physicians began in the United States in 1960 under the hypothesis that personality prompts the type of specialty chosen to be pursued. Chile and Spain are the countries where this relationship has been studied most. In Mexico there are few studies that have served to further understand the ways in which physicians confront problems they face during their training. This is the first study done with physicians that are part of the different medical specialties imparted in the Luis Guillermo Ibarra Ibarra National Institute for Rehabilitation under the hypothesis that there is a relationship between the type of personality and the medical specialty chosen.

Objective: To determine if the National Institute for Rehabilitation resident physician's personality type differs significantly from other specialities.

Method: A cross-sectional study was performed in which the 16PF-5 factorial personality questionnaire was completed by 50 resident physicians belonging to five of the seven specialities available in the Luis Guillermo Ibarra Ibarra National Institute for Rehabilitation. The questionnaire examines 16 primary personality traits that include 5 general personality dimensions. The data obtained was analysed using the SPSS 17 statistics program. For the comparison between two proportions, the chi squared test was used, and the distribution form of the factorial personality questionnaire scores was corroborated with the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. The mean comparison by sex was performed using the Student t test for independent samples or with the Mann Whitney U test. The mean comparison for specialties was made using analysis of variance or with Kruskal-Wallis. The multivariate analysis was performed using a discriminant analysis model and the 2 factor analysis of variance.

Results: Of the 16 traits, reasoning, tension, and self-sufficiency stand out. The lowest were: affability and vigilance. Of the 5 dimensions, independence and anxiety stand out, while the lowest were extroversion and hardness. By gender, they were differentiated M vs. F: stability 6.20±1.3 vs. 5.17±1.5 (p=.018) and (0.655, p=.0001).

Conclusions: There are outstanding differences among the personality traits and personality dimensions.