Faculty Articles


A comparison of osteopathic, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant and occupational therapy students’ personality styles: Implications for education and practice



Publication Title

Journal of Pharmacy Teaching





Date of original Performance / Presentation

January 1999

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Research has demonstrated that students with specific personality styles tend to choose particular professions. Even within a discipline, differences in personality traits are evident. With differences in personality styles reported in other professions, the question arises, are there differences in personality styles among the health professions? As such, this study is being undertaken to determine if differences in personality style exist between pharmacy and other health-profession students. Such information can help educators guide prospective students into compatible careers or counsel students who are having a difficult time completing the curriculum. In addition, this information can help enlighten health-profession students about the differences in personality and how these differences may manifest themselves in the workplace. The hypothesis tested was “there is a difference in personality traits between osteopathic, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and occupational therapy students.” The instrument used to assess students' personality traits was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI is a forced-choice, self-report, personality inventory developed to measure variables in Carl Jung's theory of psychological type. The MBTI consists of 126 questions representing four underlying bipolar constructs: Extraversion-Introversion (E/I), Sensation-Intuition (S/N), Thinking-Feeling (T/F), and Judgment-Perception (J/P). The four constructs are combined into a “profile” of which 16 possibilities exist. MBTI's completed by 1,508 osteopathic, 654 pharmacy, 165 physical therapy, 211 physician assistant, and 70 occupational therapy students were used in the analysis. Chi-square analyses were conducted on the four bipolar constructs as well as the 16 profile types. Significant differences were found on the E/I, S/N, and J/P dimensions as well as 9 profile types. The results lend support to the idea that people choose professions partially based on personality traits.


Medical Specialties | Medicine and Health Sciences | Osteopathic Medicine and Osteopathy

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