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The Relationship between Personality Traits with Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Ideation among Medical Students: A Cross-Sectional Study at One Medical School in Germany

Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Centre for Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, University of Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1462; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071462
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 8 July 2018 / Published: 11 July 2018
Medical students are at increased risk of experiencing mental health problems. Certain personality traits may be associated with elevated vulnerability to study-related stress and poor mental health. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between such personality traits and mental health outcomes among medical students. We drew on cross-sectional data from 251 medical students who had been enrolled for one-year at a medical school in Germany. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 (PHQ-8) and suicidal ideation was assessed by item 9 from the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Personality traits were captured using the Business-Focused Inventory of Personality 6 Factors (BIP-6F). Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to quantify the associations between work-related personality factors and mental health outcomes, controlling for demographic and social factors. Odds ratios (ORs) as outcome measures with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were used. After controlling for important confounders, medical students who scored highly on Stability had lower odds of depressive symptoms (OR: 0.19, 95% CI: 0.09–0.42, p < 0.001) and suicidality (OR: 0.38, 95% CI: 0.16–0.87, p < 0.05) than those with high scores in other work-related personality factors. Findings also showed that those who scored highly on Dominance had greater odds of depressive symptoms (OR: 2.46, 95% CI: 1.22–4.97), p < 0.01). Work-related personality-informed interventions, which promote students’ mental well-being and reduce academic stress should be considered at various stages of their medical training. View Full-Text
Keywords: mental health; medical students; academic stress; personality traits; depressive symptoms; suicidal ideation mental health; medical students; academic stress; personality traits; depressive symptoms; suicidal ideation
MDPI and ACS Style

Chow, W.S.; Schmidtke, J.; Loerbroks, A.; Muth, T.; Angerer, P. The Relationship between Personality Traits with Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Ideation among Medical Students: A Cross-Sectional Study at One Medical School in Germany. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1462.

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