Tolerance of ambiguity, perfectionism and resilience are associated with personality profiles of medical students oriented to rural practice

Diann Eley, Janni Leung, Narelle Campbell, C. Robert Cloninger

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Purpose: Resilience, coping with uncertainty and learning from mistakes are vital characteristics for all medical disciplines–particularly rural practice. Levels of coping constructs were examined in medical students with and without a rural background or an interest in rural practice. Methods: Cross-sectional surveys identified two personality profiles, and their association with levels of Tolerance of Ambiguity, Resilience, Perfectionism-High Standards and Concern over mistakes as constructs indicative of coping. Medical students (N = 797) were stratified by rural background and degree of rural interest. Mediation analysis tested the effect of personality profile on levels of the coping constructs. Results: More (72%) rural background students had Profile 1 which was associated with higher levels of Tolerance of Ambiguity, High standards, and Resilience, but lower Concern over mistakes. Non-rural background students reporting a strong rural interest also had Profile 1 (64%) and similar levels of coping constructs. Personality profile mediated the association between rural interest and levels of coping constructs regardless of background. Conclusions: Having a rural background or strong rural interest are associated with a personality profile that indicates a better capacity for coping. Personality may play a part in an individual’s interest in rural practice. Rural workforce initiatives through education should encourage and nurture students with a genuine interest in rural practice–regardless of background.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)512-519
    Number of pages8
    JournalMedical Teacher
    Volume39
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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