Scientists think they can prove that free will is an illusion. Philosophers are urging them to think again. Choosing medical specialty can be a complicated decision for a medical student to make. Various factors seem to influence the choice: gender, economic status, guardian occupation and personality traits.
The survey included questions about the socio-demographic details like age, gender, year of education in medical school, choice of specialty and score of five personality traits as assessed by Big five inventory (1) Extroversion (2) Agreeableness (3) Neuroticism (4) Openness (5) Conscientiousness.
A total of 223 participants were included in the study which included 85/223 (38.1%) males and 138/223 (61.9%) females. Ages of participants ranged from 18 to 35 with a mean of 21 years. Most participants (146/223 = 65%) fell in the age group of 21 to 30 years. Nearly equal number of participants were included from each year of MBBS 44(19.7%) from first year, 47(21.1%) from second year, 36(16.1%) from third year, 38(17.0%) from fourth year, 47(21.1%) from final year and among graduates 11(4.9%) were doing their internship.
There is no significant association between personality traits and a persons choice of specialty. More powered studies with inclusion of more possible explanatory variables are required to create a better fitting prediction model in this regard. There is nevertheless an association between the choice of Family Medicine and Public Health as a group who scored more in extroversion, openness, neuroticism and less on conscientiousness.
Key words: Personality traits, Career choices, Medical students, Pakistan, Big Five Inventory