Role of personality in medical students’ initial intention to become rural doctors

Jones, Michael P., Eley, Diann, Lampe, Lisa, Coulston, Carissa M., Malhli, Gin S., Wilson, Ian, Kelly, Brian, Talley, Nicholas J., Owen, Cathy, Corrigan, Gerry, Griffin, Barbara, Humphreys, John, Alba, Beatrice and Stagg, Pamela (2013) Role of personality in medical students’ initial intention to become rural doctors. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 21 2: 80-89. doi:10.1111/ajr.12013

Author Jones, Michael P.
Eley, Diann
Lampe, Lisa
Coulston, Carissa M.
Malhli, Gin S.
Wilson, Ian
Kelly, Brian
Talley, Nicholas J.
Owen, Cathy
Corrigan, Gerry
Griffin, Barbara
Humphreys, John
Alba, Beatrice
Stagg, Pamela
Title Role of personality in medical students’ initial intention to become rural doctors
Journal name Australian Journal of Rural Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1038-5282
Publication date 2013-04-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/ajr.12013
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 21
Issue 2
Start page 80
End page 89
Total pages 10
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: Recent efforts to redress the deficit of rural medical practitioners have considered the problem of recruitment and retention of rural doctors as one of influencing individuals’ career choices. Exposure to rural medical environments during basic medical training is one long-standing example of an initiative aimed in this direction and there is some evidence that it is effective. This study sought to determine whether or not various domains of personality are related to medical students’ attitude to practising as rural doctors after graduation.

Design: The sample comprised 914 students commencing medical studies in Australian universities. They were recruited as part of the Medical Schools Outcomes Database project and indicated intended location of future medical practice.

Setting: Seven Australian basic medical training programs.

Main outcome measures: All students completed the NEO five-factor index (NEO-FFI) and Adjective Checklist (ACL) personality instruments.

Results: A preference for a rural practice location was associated with a combination of six domains of personality. The probability of rural preference was greater with higher scores on openness to experience, agreeableness and self-confidence but lower with higher scores on extraversion, autonomy and intraception. Taken together these six domains of personality provide useful although imperfect discrimination between students with a rural versus urban location preference. After controlling for student age the associations with extraversion and agreeableness failed to reach statistical significance.

Conclusions: While personality does not fully explain medical students' attitude towards practicing as a rural doctor, the data suggest it is an important factor and that some individuals may be better suited to a rural medical career than others. Considering personality along with other characteristics of the individual might allow targeted ‘marketing’ of rural practice.
Keyword Education
Health outcomes research
Rural workforce
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 7 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 05 May 2013, 21:18:20 EST by Diann Eley on behalf of School of Medicine