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11 April 2023
Article (Scientific journals)
Distribution of psychological instability among surgeons
Kalywis, Anna L.; Samuel, Robin; Scholtes, Felix et al.
2023In World Neurosurgery
Peer reviewed


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Keywords :
medicine; surgery; neuroticism; medical error; second victim; physicians' wellbeing
Abstract :
[en] Background High emotional instability, i.e. neuroticism, is associated with poor mental health. Conversely, traumatic experiences may increase neuroticism. Stressful experiences such as complications are common in the surgical profession, with neurosurgeons being particularly affected. We compared the personality trait neuroticism between physicians in a prospective cross-sectional study. Methods 5,148). Multivariate linear regression was used to model differences between surgeons, non-surgeons and specialties with occasional surgical interventions with respect to neuroticism, adjusting for gender, age, age squared and their interactions, then testing equality of parameters of adjusted predictions separately and jointly using Wald tests. Results With an expected variability within disciplines, average levels of neuroticism are lower in surgeons than non-surgeons, especially in the first part of their career. However, the course of neuroticism across age follows a quadratic pattern, i.e., an increase after the initial decrease. The acceleration of neuroticism with age is specifically significant in surgeons. Levels of neuroticism are lowest towards mid-career, but exhibit a strong secondary increase towards the end of the surgeons’ career. This pattern seems driven by neurosurgeons. Conclusion Despite initially lower levels of neuroticism, surgeons suffer a stronger increase of neuroticism together with age. Since, beyond well-being, neuroticism influences professional performance and healthcare systems costs, explanatory studies are mandatory to enlighten causes of this burden.
Disciplines :
Public health, health care sciences & services
Author, co-author :
Kalywis, Anna L.
Samuel, Robin ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Social Sciences (DSOC)
Scholtes, Felix
Reuter, Gilles
Stienen, Martin N.
Seifritz, Erich
Surbeck, Werner
External co-authors :
Language :
Title :
Distribution of psychological instability among surgeons
Publication date :
Journal title :
World Neurosurgery
Peer reviewed :
Peer reviewed


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