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Personality Traits and Career Satisfaction of Health Care Professionals

Richardson, John D. MA; Lounsbury, John W. PhD; Bhaskar, Tripti MA; Gibson, Lucy W. PhD; Drost, Adam W. MBA

doi: 10.1097/HCM.0b013e3181b3e9c7

Based on Holland's theorizing that vocational satisfaction arises from a good match between one's personality and career choice, one purpose of the study was to examine broad and narrow personality traits that characterize health care workers in comparison with professionals from other occupations. Also investigated were ways in which characteristic traits of health care workers were related to career satisfaction. Professionals utilizing the services of responded to online surveys that have been demonstrated to produce reliable and valid measures of broad and narrow personality traits and levels of career satisfaction. An independent sample t test was used to compare means of health care workers with those from other occupations. Pearson product-moment correlations were then computed to assess relationships between the traits and career satisfaction of health care professionals. Two traits that were particularly strong among health care workers were also significantly correlated with career satisfaction: work drive and conscientiousness. Other traits were found to be significantly related to career satisfaction in health care but were not uniquely high in the sample of health care professionals. To increase career satisfaction of health care professionals and thus to improve retention rates, administrators should consider focusing on recruiting and selecting individuals with higher levels of key personality traits.

Author Affiliations: University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Mr Richardson, Dr Lounsbury, and Mr Bhaskar); and, Atlanta, Georgia (Drs Lounsbury and Gibson, Mr Drost).

Corresponding author: John D. Richardson, MA, 2543 Woodbine Ave, Knoxville, TN 37914 (

This research was granted approval from the institutional review board for human subjects research at the University of Tennessee.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.