The relationship between resilience and personality traits in doctors: implications for enhancing well being

Diann S. Eley*, C. Robert Cloninger, Lucie Walters, Caroline Laurence, Robyn Synnott, David Wilkinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)
130 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: The health and well being of medical doctors is vital to their longevity and safe practice. The concept of resilience is recognised as a key component of well being and is an important factor in medical training to help doctors learn to cope with challenge, stress, and adversity. This study examined the relationship of resilience to personality traits and resilience in doctors in order to identify the key traits that promote or impair resilience. Methods: A cross sectional cohort of 479 family practitioners in practice across Australia was studied. The Temperament and Character Inventory measured levels of the seven basic dimensions of personality and the Resilience Scale provided an overall measure of resilience. The associations between resilience and personality were examined by Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients, controlling for age and gender (α= 0:05 with an accompanying 95% confidence level) andmultiple regression analyses. Results: Strong to medium positive correlations were found between Resilience and Self-directedness (r = .614, p <.01), Persistence (r = .498, p <.01), and Cooperativeness (r = .363, p <.01) and negative withHarmAvoidance (r = .-555, p < :01). Individual differences in personality explained 39% of the variance in resilience [F(7,460)= 38.40, p <.001]. The three traits which contributed significantly to this variance were Self-directedness (β = .33, p <.001), Persistence (β = .22, p <.001) andHarmAvoidance (β = .19, p <.001). Conclusion: Resilience was associated with a personality trait pattern that is mature, responsible, optimistic, persevering, and cooperative. Findings support the inclusion of resilience as a component of optimal functioning and well being in doctors. Strategies for enhancing resilience should consider the key traits that drive or impair it.

Original languageEnglish
Article number216
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2013

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Copyright the Author(s) 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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