Exploring the psychological traits of surgical specialists at an academic hospital in Bloemfontein

  • Ruben Van Aswegen University of the Free State
  • Jacob T Kuzhivelil University of the Free State
  • Caren Strydom University of the Free State
  • Grant Connellan University of the Free State
  • Akshay Ravgee University of the Free State
  • Gina Joubert University of the Free State http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3728-6925
  • Johan Botes University of the Free State http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9138-4884
  • Wilhelm Johannes Steinberg University of the Free State http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9944-1807
Keywords: surgical specialties, personality, behaviours, traits, surgery, anaesthesiology, obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedic

Abstract

Background

Studies have attempted to categorise undergraduate medical and postgraduate students and specialists into personality types. This study explored the personality characteristics of doctors in four surgical and three consulting specialties at an academic hospital in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Methods

This analytical cross-sectional study used the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire as a measuring tool which included five scales: impulsive sensation seeking (subscales impulsivity and sensation seeking), neuroticism-anxiety, aggression-hostility, sociability (parties and friends and isolation intolerance), and activity (work activity and general activity). Overall, 70 consultants and senior registrars from surgical specialties (anaesthesiology, obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedic surgery, surgery), (response rate 60.3%) and 58 consultants and senior registrars from three consulting specialties (internal medicine, paediatrics, family medicine) (response rate 71.6%) participated.

Results

All four surgical specialties had higher medians than the overall consulting group for the subscale sensation seeking. The subscale sensation seeking scored higher than impulsivity across surgical and consulting groups. The surgical group scored lower than the consulting group in neuroticism-anxiety, with anaesthesiology scoring the highest (42.1%) and orthopaedic surgery scoring the lowest (15.8%). Orthopaedic surgery scored the highest (50.0%) in aggression-hostility, sociability (52.9%), parties and friends (44.4%) and isolation intolerance (65.5%). The surgical group scored significantly higher than the consulting group for activity (p < 0.01).

Conclusion

While orthopaedic surgeons in specialist departments in Bloemfontein seem unique in their sociability and aggression-hostility traits, anaesthesiologists scored strongly on the sensation seeking and neuroticism-anxiety scales. The obstetricians and gynaecologists did not manifest either of these traits strongly.

Author Biographies

Ruben Van Aswegen, University of the Free State

Undergraduate medical student at time of study, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Jacob T Kuzhivelil, University of the Free State

Undergraduate medical student at time of study, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Caren Strydom, University of the Free State

Undergraduate medical student at time of study, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Grant Connellan, University of the Free State

Undergraduate medical student at time of study, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Akshay Ravgee, University of the Free State

Undergraduate medical student at time of study, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Gina Joubert, University of the Free State

Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Johan Botes, University of the Free State

Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Wilhelm Johannes Steinberg, University of the Free State

Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Published
2019-05-14
How to Cite
Van Aswegen, R., Kuzhivelil, J., Strydom, C., Connellan, G., Ravgee, A., Joubert, G., Botes, J., & Steinberg, W. (2019). Exploring the psychological traits of surgical specialists at an academic hospital in Bloemfontein. South African Journal of Surgery, 57(2), 32-39. Retrieved from http://sajs.redbricklibrary.com/index.php/sajs/article/view/2813
Section
Original Articles