College of Osteopathic Medicine Faculty Articles


A comparison of personality types among students enrolled in osteopathic, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant and occupational programs: What the differences mean



Publication Title

Journal of the American Osteopathic Association



Date of original Performance / Presentation

January 1998

Publication Date / Copyright Date


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This study compared personality traits of students in five health professions. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was completed by 1,508 osteopathic students, 654 pharmacy students, 165 physical therapy students, 211 physician assistant students, and 70 occupational therapy students. Comparing the extrovert/introvert dimension revealed that pharmacy students were more likely to score as introverted whereas students enrolled in the four other health fields were more likely to score as extroverts. Pharmacy students were more inclined to use the sensing function, while a greater proportion of osteopathic students preferred the intuitive function. For the five health professions, there were no significant differences across the thinking/feeling dimension. On the judgment/perception construct, pharmacy students were likely to favor the perceiving function. The dominant profile for osteopathic and physician assistant students was ESTJ, meaning that they are practical, realistic, with a natural head for business or mechanics. The dominant profile for physical and occupational therapy students was ESFJ, meaning they are warm-hearted, talkative, and interested in things that affect peoples's lives. The dominant profile for pharmacy students was ISTJ, meaning they are serious, thorough, logical, and realistic. The results support the notion that people choose professions partially based on personality traits.


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

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