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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

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
StatePublished - May 4 2017
Externally publishedYes

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