European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 15 - Number 2
Eur J Anat, 15 (2): 121-128 (2011)

Medical studentsâ?? Big Five Personality scores and the effects on the â??selection processâ?

Odile Plaisant1,2,5, Robert Courtois5,6, Paule J.Toussaint1, Gerald A. Mendelsohn3, Oliver P. John3, Bernard J. Moxham4

1University of Paris Descartes, School of Medicine, URDIA, EA4465, Paris, France, 2APHP, GH PitiĂ© SalpĂȘtriĂšre, Epilepsy Unit and Pain Centre, Paris, France, 3University of California, IPSR and Department of psychology, Berkeley, USA, 4Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom, 5UniversitĂ© François Rabelais, EA 2114 « Psychologie des Ăąges de la vie », DĂ©partement de psychologie, 37041 Tours cedex, France, 6Clinique Psychiatrique Universitaire, CHRU de Tours, 37044, Tours cedex 9, France

ABSTRACT Assessment of the personalities of medical students not only aids the formulation of strategies for the best development of academic and clinical competencies but can also inform the process of selecting medical practitioners. The hypothesis tested was that medical students have distinct personality profiles that reflect the nature of the selection process. Two groups of French medical students were compared using the Big Five Inventory (BFI) to measure personality: an unselected group of Year 1 medical students (n = 1332; mean age 19.4 years ± 1.4; 68% females) and a group of academically successful Year 3 students (n = 403; mean age 21.3 ± 1.6; 65% female). The data collected further enabled comparisons in an international context where medical students were selected using different procedures. Year 3 French medical students, who represent only the top 15% of students initially admitted into the medical course, scored lower on two personality dimensions than the unselected Year 1 students: on Agreeableness and Openness to new experience (p < 0.001). In keeping with the findings in non-medical populations, both groups of female medical students scored higher on Agreeableness than did males. Nevertheless, the selection effect on Agreeableness and Openness held for both males and females. These findings contrast with medical student personality profiles in other countries that use less overtly competitive procedures to select medical students.

Keywords: Five Factors of personality, Big Five Inventory, Selection effects

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)