Bore M, Ashley-Brown G, Gallagher, E, Powis D (2008)
Personality and the prevalence of psychiatric symptoms in medicine and psychology students.
In Personality Down Under: Perspectives from Australia. (Ed., Simon Boag). Nova Science Publishers Inc; NY, USA, ISBN 978-1-60456-794-6
Chapter 15, pp 158-165
Abstract: Recent research has suggested that the average mental health of medical practitioners and medical school students is poorer than that of the general population. Poor mental health has been associated with the Big 5 personality traits of high neuroticism, low agreeableness, low conscientiousness, and introversion (e.g., Malouff et al., 2005) and with low self-control (Tangney et al., 2004). We administered the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI: Derogatis & Spencer, 1982) as a measure of mental health to medical school students (n = 270) and psychology students (n = 102). Although Neuroticism and Year of Study were found to be significant predictors of poor mental health, the finding of particular note is the unexpected high prevalence of psychiatric symptoms found in both samples. In particular, 24% of 1st Year Psychology students and 31% of the 1st Year Medical students produced BSI global scores equal to, or higher than, the BSI norm for adult psychiatric inpatients. Developmental factors, pastoral care and selection issues are discussed in relation to our finding that many students appear to be significantly distressed.