Different degrees, similar personalities: A four-year comparison of dentistry and medicine students
Keywords:dental students, medical students, personality, temperament, character, cohort studies
Introduction: The Doctor of Medicine (MD) and the Bachelor of Dental Science Honours (BDSc) degrees are challenging, with similar prerequisites regarding the scope of prior knowledge and academic performance. Studies have previously explored personality traits of students within each degree, but few have compared traits between the MD and BDSc cohorts.
Methods: Successive first-year cohorts of MD and BDSc students (2015 to 2018) completed a survey including demographic questions and the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). Generalised estimating equations comparedTCI traits of students in the programs.
Results: MD students comprised a higher proportion of students who were male, older and married/partnered compared to BDSc students. Profiles of temperament and character were similar. After adjusting for sex, age and marital status, the mean scores of harm avoidance were higher, and persistence, self-directedness and cooperativeness significantly lower inBDSc compared to MD students.
Conclusions: Students pursuing medicine and dentistry demonstrate some differences in trait scores, however they are not meaningfully different when interpreting their profiles. Both groups have similar personalities, indicative of coping with their challenging degrees. A supportive learning environment is paramount to that coping success.
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