The relationship between resilience and personality traits in doctors: Implications for enhancing well being

Diann Eley, Claude Cloninger, Lucie Walters, Caroline Lawrence, Robyn Synnott, David Wilkinson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    96 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: The health and well being of medical doctors is vital to their longevity and safe practice. The concept of resilience is recognised as a key component of well being and is an important factor in medical training to help doctors learn to cope with challenge, stress, and adversity. This study examined the relationship of resilience to personality traits and resilience in doctors in order to identify the key traits that promote or impair resilience. Methods: A cross sectional cohort of 479 family practitioners in practice across Australia was studied. The Temperament and Character Inventory measured levels of the seven basic dimensions of personality and the Resilience Scale provided an overall measure of resilience. The associations between resilience and personality were examined by Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients, controlling for age and gender (α= 0:05 with an accompanying 95% confidence level) andmultiple regression analyses. Results: Strong to medium positive correlations were found between Resilience and Self-directedness (r = .614, p <.01), Persistence (r = .498, p <.01), and Cooperativeness (r = .363, p <.01) and negative withHarmAvoidance (r = .-555, p < :01). Individual differences in personality explained 39% of the variance in resilience [F(7,460)= 38.40, p <.001]. The three traits which contributed significantly to this variance were Self-directedness (β = .33, p <.001), Persistence (β = .22, p <.001) andHarmAvoidance (β = .19, p <.001). Conclusion: Resilience was associated with a personality trait pattern that is mature, responsible, optimistic, persevering, and cooperative. Findings support the inclusion of resilience as a component of optimal functioning and well being in doctors. Strategies for enhancing resilience should consider the key traits that drive or impair it.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number216
    Pages (from-to)1-16
    Number of pages16
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Character
    • Doctors
    • Resilience
    • Temperament
    • Well being


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