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Relationship of the Personality Traits of Early Career Pediatricians and Career Satisfaction and Burnout

‚ÄčElizabeth Schott, MA, Mary Pat Frintner, MSPH, Shesha K Katakam, MD, MPH, Laurel K Leslie, MD, MPH

Presented at the 2016 Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting.

Background: Research has shown a link between physician personality and important outcomes including satisfaction and well-being. Little is known about pediatrician personality traits and career satisfaction and burnout.

Objective: Compare personality traits of early career pediatricians to normative data, and examine the relationship between personality dimensions and career satisfaction and burnout.

Methods: National, weighted 2013 data were drawn from the AAP PLACES longitudinal study of early career pediatricians (2-4 years post residency; n=844). 94% of PLACES pediatricians completed the 2013 survey. Pediatricians completed the Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI), a brief measure of the Big Five personality dimensions: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Emotional Stability. Subscale scores for each of the 5 dimensions were based on 2 Likert scale items (1-strongly disagree to 7-strongly agree) and were compared to published TIPI norms (based on a sample of undergrads, n=1813) using one-sample t-tests. Multivariable logistic regression examined the independent effects of pediatrician personality on career satisfaction and burnout while controlling for demographic characteristics (gender, race, IMG, marital status, parental status, specialty, and work part-time).

Results: Compared to TIPI norms, pediatricians scored higher on Conscientiousness (6.01 vs 5.40), Agreeableness (5.52 vs 5.23) and Emotional Stability (5.06 vs 4.83), and lower on Openness (5.00 vs 5.38) and Extraversion (4.19 vs 4.44); p<.001 for all.

Among early career pediatricians, 85% agreed that they were satisfied with their career as a physician, and 27% agreed that they were experiencing burnout in their work. After controlling for demographic characteristics, pediatricians scoring higher on the personality dimensions of Conscientiousness (aOR=1.42, CI=1.07 to 1.88) and Emotional Stability (aOR=2.23, CI=1.71 to 2.91) were more likely to report satisfaction with their career. Pediatricians scoring higher on Emotional Stability were less likely to report burnout (aOR=0.61, CI=0.50 to 0.75).

Conclusion: Compared to TIPI norms, early career pediatricians have unique personality traits, including high Conscientiousness, Agreeableness and Emotional Stability. The personality dimension of Emotional Stability was positively related to pediatrician career satisfaction and negatively related to burnout.

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