Profiling undergraduate students from a Romanian medical university
Received 17 February 2018
Accepted for publication 11 May 2018
Published 24 July 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 1891—1899
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak
Peer reviewer comments 3
Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder
Radu-Stefan Romosan, Liana Dehelean, Virgil-Radu Enatescu, Ana Cristina Bredicean, Ion Papava, Catalina Giurgi-Oncu, Ana-Maria Romosan
Department of Neurosciences, “Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Romania
Purpose: Medical students’ personality traits, emotion regulation strategies, and empathic behavior are considered powerful predictors for their future achievements, professional adjustment, and mental strength. Coping strategies such as “self-blame,” “rumination,” “catastrophizing,” “blaming others,” lack of empathy, decreased emotion recognition abilities, and neuroticism are maladaptive and, thus, less desirable traits in medical professionals. The purpose of the study was to comparatively assess and find potential correlations between personality traits, empathy levels, emotion recognition abilities, and cognitive emotion regulation strategies of three medical student samples: general medicine (GM), dental medicine (DM), and general nursing (GN) students.
Patients and methods: This cross-sectional comparative study was conducted throughout the second semester of 2017, during Psychiatry class, on 306 medical undergraduates of the “Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Romania. Personality was assessed by using Neuroticism–Extraversion–Openness to Experience Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Cognitive emotion regulation strategies were identified using the Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (CERQ). Empathy quotient (EQ) was used to measure empathy levels. Emotion recognition abilities were evaluated with the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test (RMET).
Results: GM students scored significantly higher than both DM and GN students in blaming others (CERQ) and significantly higher than GN students in “neuroticism” (NEO-FFI). GM and DM students obtained significantly lower scores than their GN colleagues in “agreeableness” (NEO-FFI) and empathy (EQ). Compared to DM students, GN students gave significantly more correct answers in RMET. Neuroticism was associated with less efficient coping mechanisms (self-blame, rumination, catastrophizing, blaming others) and lower empathy scores. Empathy correlated negatively with blaming others and was positively associated with agreeableness and emotion recognition abilities.
Conclusion: The differences found between the student samples can be consequences of several overlapping factors. Certain personality traits may predispose individuals to maladaptive coping responses, increased vulnerability to stress, and lower empathy levels. The results of this study can be viewed as baseline data for future, more comprehensive, longitudinal analyses.
Keywords: undergraduate, education environment, medical education research, dental students, nursing students
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