Investigating personality and conceptualising allied health as person or technique oriented

Narelle Campbell, Diann Eley, Lindy McAllister

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective Allied health (AH) includes many diverse professions, each with a unique contribution to healthcare, making it possible to consider these professions as person oriented (PO) or technique oriented (TO). This paper explored the personality traits of AH professionals from the perspective of both the PO or TO orientation and the individual professions. Methods AH professionals (n≤562) provided demographic data and completed the Temperament and Character Inventory. Examination of the literature and a consultation process resulted in nine professions classified as PO and 10 classified as TO. Multivariate analyses compared levels of personality traits and demographic variables between the PO (n≤492) and TO (n≤70) groups, and the professions within the groups. Results Professionals in the PO group showed significantly higher levels of traits that emphasise person orientation attributes, such as being sociable, empathic and cooperative, compared with AH professionals in professions with an emphasis on TO. Conclusions Trends in personality traits among AH professionals were congruent with the PO and TO aspects of their chosen profession. This supports the usefulness of the PO and TO concepts in describing AH professions and may provide new clues for policy aiming to enhance job satisfaction, retention and career development. What is known about the topic? The literature suggests that certain medical specialities can be classified as person (PO) or technique oriented (TO) and that individuals attracted to those specialties display traits that are similar to that orientation. There is scant information on the AH professions regarding similar person or technique orientations. What does this paper add? The diversity of professions within AH allows a new approach to describing each profession as either PO (socially dependent, cooperative and relationship focused), or TO (focused on skills and procedures). The trend in personality traits of individuals in certain AH professions is compatible with the orientation of that profession. Findings suggest that individuals may be attracted to professions that favour a similar personality pattern to their own. What are the implications for practitioners? Gaining an improved understanding of the AH professions and individuals who are attracted to them in a climate of workforce shortage and increasing multidisciplinary service demand. The findings provide a new approach to understanding the characteristics of AH professions according to the personalities they attract. This information could guide recruitment and retention policy, and assist in career counselling by providing greater insight into personality profiles that are best suited to certain professions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)86-92
    Number of pages7
    JournalAustralian Health Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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