[en] Background: Clinicians in neuroscientific disciplines may present distinct personality profiles. Despite of potential relevance to clinical practice, this has not yet been studied. We therefore aimed to compare personality profiles of physicians working in the three main disciplines of clinical neuroscience, i.e., neurologists, neurosurgeons, and psychiatrists, between each other, across levels of training and to other specialties.
Methods:An online survey using the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI), an internationally validated measure of the five-factor model of personality dimensions, was distributed to board-certified physicians, residents, and medical students in several European countries and Canada. Differences in personality profiles were analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance and canonical linear discriminant analysis on age- and sex-standardized z-scores of personality traits. Single personality traits were analyzed using robust t tests.
Results: Of the 5148 respondents who completed the survey, 723 indicated the specialties neurology, neurosurgery, or psychiatry. Compared to all other specialties, personality profiles of training and trained physicians in these three main clinical neuroscience disciplines (“NN&P”) significantly differed, with significantly higher scores in openness to experience. Within NN&P, there were significant differences in personality profiles, driven by lower neuroticism in neurosurgeons, higher conscientiousness in neurosurgeons and neurologists, and higher agreeableness in psychiatrists. Across levels of training, NN&P personality profiles did not differ significantly.
Conclusion: The distinct clinical neuroscience personality profile is characterized by higher levels of openness to experience compared to non-neuroscience specialties. Despite high variability within each discipline, moderate, but solid differences in the personality profiles of neurologists, neurosurgeons and psychiatrists exist.