Psychiatric trainees have no more psychological problems than other medical trainees

It has long been believed that psychiatrists should have more psychological problems than other doctors for making their choice. This does not appear to be true according to a study published in the March issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics by psychiatrists in Serbia-Montenegro and Greece.

The objective of this joint study was to investigate personality characteristics of psychiatric trainees comparing with those of internal medicine trainees.

Forty-four consecutive psychiatric trainees under training at the Belgrade University Psychiatric Department were assessed at the second year of their training (32 women and 12 men,with a median age of 33 years,ranging from 26 to 42 years).The comparison group consisted of 36 internal medicine trainees (25 women and 11 menwith a median age of 35 years,ranging from 28 to 48 years).The two groups had the same gender structure and there were no statistical differences regarding their age.

Personality was assessed by Eysenck ’s Personality Questionnaire(EPQ).Statistical analyses of the mean differences between groups on the EPQ scales were done by independent samples tests.Although both groups had normal personality profiles,psychiatric trainees had more ‘stable’ personalities than medical trainees.

However,the psychiatric trainees in the sample were more extraverted and more prone to socially desirable responding. There was no difference with respect to Neuroticism scale. Personality assessment of psychiatric trainees before onset of their training would be useful not only for reasons associated with the efficacy of the service,but also for reasons related to the well-being of the trainees themselves. It appears that estigmatization is necessary,not only for psychiatric patients but also for the people who care for them.

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