Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Projects and researches
Published: 2019-12-13

Personality and resilience in medical students

University of Bucharest, Department of Psychology
medical students resilience personality depression anxiety stress


This study has three main objectives: to establish the relationships between personality traits and resilience in medical students, the relationships between vulnerability factors and the level of resilience in medical students, and the relationships between personality traits, resilience and symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress among medical students. In this study participated 134 students enrolled at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Craiova, both in the specialization of general medicine and general medicine nurses, aged between 18 and 25 years, M = 19.78, SD = 1.31. Of these, 34 are men and 100 are women. The instrument used were Inventory of vulnerability / protection factors (α = .79), Resilience Scale, short form, RS-14 (α = .87),  five sets of 10 items each in five sub-domains of NEO PI-R: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experiences, aggreableness, and conscientiousness (α > .70), and  Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales, DASS 21-R (α > .70). Resilience was negatively corelated with neuroticism, positively correlated with extraversion, and also positively correlated with conscientiousness. The protective factors were positively associated with resilience. Neuroticism has an increasing effect on depression, while extraversion has a decreasing effect on depression, neuroticism has an increasing effect on anxiety and stress, and aggreableness has a decreasing effect on stress. The results also showed that a high level of resilience leads to a low level of depression, anxiety, and stress.


Beiter, R., Nash, R., McCrady, M., Rhoades, D., Linscomb, M., Clarahan, M., Sammut, S. (2014). The prevalence and correlates of depression, anxiety, and stress in a sample of college students. Journal of Affective Disorders, 173, 90-96.
Bienvenu, O. J., Samuels, J. F., Costa, P.T., Reti, I. M., Eaton, W. W., Nestadt, G. (2004) Anxiety and depressive disorders and the five-factor model of personality: a higher- and lower-order personality trait investigation in a community sample. Depression and Anxiety, 20, 92–97.
Buikstra, E., Ross, H., King, C. A., Baker, P. G., Hegney, D., McLachlan, K., Rogers-Clark, C. (2010). The Components of Resilience: Perceptions of an Australian Rural Community. Journal of Community Psychology, 38(8), 975–991.
Bunevicius, A., Katkute, A., Bunevicius, R. (2008). Symptoms of anxiety and depression in medical students and in humanities: Relationships with big-five personality dimensions and vulnerability to stress. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 54(6), 494-501.
Campbell-Sills, L., Cohan, S. L., Stein, M. B. (2006). Relationship of resilience to personality, coping, and psychiatric symptoms in young adults. Behavior Research and Therapy, 44(4), 585-599.
Clark, L. A. (2005). Temperament as a unifying basis for personality and psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 114, 505–521.
Clark, L. A., Watson, D. (1991). Tripartite model of anxiety and depression: Psychometric evidence and taxonomic implications. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 316–336.
Clifton, R. A., Perry, R. P., Stubbs, C. A., Roberts, L. W. (2004). Faculty environments, psychosocial dispositions, and the academic achievement of college students. Research in Higher Education, 45, 801-828.
Costa, P.T., McCrae, R. R. (1992). Four Ways Five Factors are Basic. Personality and Individual Differences, 13, 653–665.
Damasio, B. F., Borsa, J. C., da Silva, J. P. (2011). 14-item Resilience Scale (RS–14): Psychometric properties of the Brazilian version. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 19, 131–145.
Dyrbye, L. N., Shanafelt, T. (2012). Nurturing resiliency in medical trainees. Medical Education, 46, 343-348.
Dyrbye, L. N., Thomas, M. R., Shanafelt, T. D. (2006). Systematic review of depression, anxiety, and other indicators of psychological distress among US and Canadian medical students. Academic Medicine, 81, 354–373.
Firth-Cozens, J. (2001). Interventions to improve physicians' well-being and patient care. Social Science & Medicine Journal, 52(2), 215-222.
Grafton, E., Gillespie, B., Henderson, S. (2010). Resilience: The power within. Oncology Nursing Forum, 37(6), 698–705.
Grotberg, E. H. (1995). The International Resilience Project: Research, Application, and Policy. Article presented at International Symposium on Stress and Violence, Lisbon, Portugal.
Guthrie, E., Campbell, M., Black, D., Creed, F., Bagalkote, H., Shaw, C. (1998). Psychological stress and burnout in medical students: a five-year prospective longitudinal study. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 91, 237-243.
Hojat, M., Vergare, M. J., Maxwell, K., Brainard, G., Herrine, S. K., Isenberg, G. A., și colab. (2009). The devil is in the third year: a longitudinal study of erosion of empathy in medical school. Academic Medicine, 84(9), 1182-1191.
Holmes, V. F., Rich, C. L. (1990). Suicide among physicians. In Suicide Over the Life Cycle: Risk Factors, Assessment, and Treatment of Suicidal Patients (eds. S. Blumenthal & D. Kupfer), pp. 599–616. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press Inc.
Iliescu, D., Popa, M., & Dimache, R. (2015). Adaptarea românească a Setului International de Itemi de Personalitate: IPIP-Ro [The Romanian adaptation of the International Personality Item Pool: IPIP-Ro]. Psihologia Resurselor Umane, 13(1), 83-112.
Ishak, W., Nikravesh, R., Lederer, S., Perry, R., Ogunyemi, D., Bernstein, C. (2013). Burnout in medical students: a systematic review. Clinical Teaching, 10(4), 242-245.
Jacobs, S. R., Dodd, D. (2003). Student burnout as a function of personality, social support, and workload. Journal of College Student Development, 44, 291-303.
Jennett, H. K., Harris, S. L., Mesibov, G. B. (2003). Commitment to philosophy, teacher efficacy, and burnout among teachers of children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 33, 583-593.
Kitano, M. K., Lewis, R. B. (2005). Resilience and coping: Implications for gifted children and youth at risk. Roeper Review, 27, 200–215.
Kotov, R., Watson, D., Robles, J. P., Schmidt, N. B. (2007). Personality traits and anxiety symptoms: The multilevel trait predictor model. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45, 1485–1503.
Kumpfer, K. L. (1999). Resilience and development: Positive life adaptations. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
Lovibond, S. H., Lovibond, P. F. (1995). Manual for the depression anxiety stress scales. Sydney: Psychology Foundation.
Luthar, S. S., Cicchetti, D., Becker, B. (2000). The Structure of Resilience, a Critical Evaluation and Guideline for Future Reports. Child Development, 71(3), 543–562.
Masten, A. S., Best, K. M., & Garmezy, N. (1990). Resilience and development. Contributions from the study of children who overcome adversity. Development and Psychopathology, 2, 425–444.
Matsudaira, T., Kitamura, T. (2006). Personality traits as risk factors of depression and anxiety among Japanese students. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62, 97–109.
McCrae, R. R., Costa, P. T. (1986). Personality, Coping and Doping Effectiveness in an Adult Sample. Journal of Personality, 54, 385–405.
Moffat, K. J., McConnachie, A., Ross, S., Morrison, J. M. (2004). First year medical student stress and coping in a problem-based learning medical curriculum. Medical Education, 38, 482–491.
Neenan, M. (2009). Developing resilience. A cognitivebehavioral approach. New York, NY: Rutledge.
Nishi, D., Uehara, R., Kondo, M., Matsuoka, Y. (2010). Reliability and validity of the Japanese version of the Resilience Scale and its short version. BMC Research Notes, 3, 310–315.
Ortega, S., Beauchemin, A., Kaniskan, R. B. (2008). Building resiliency in families with young children exposed to violence: The Safe Start Initiative pilot study. Best Practices in Mental Health, 4, 48-64.
Park, C. L., Adler, N. E. (2003). Coping style as a predictor of health and well-being across the first year of medical school. Health Psychology, 22, 627–631
Southwick, S. M., Bonanno, G. A., Masten, A. S., Panter-Brick, C., & Yehuda, R. (2014). Resilience definitions, theory, and challenges: Interdisciplinary perspectives. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 5, 25338.
Tyssen, R., Hem, E., Vaglum, P., Gronvold, N. T., Ekeberg, O. (2004). The process of suicidal planning among medical doctors: predictors in a longitudinal Norwegian sample. Journal of Affective Disorders, 80, 191–198.
Tyssen, R., Dolatowski, F. C., Rovik, J. O., Thorkildsen, R. F., Ekeberg, O., Hem, E. și colab. (2007). Personality traits and types predict medical school stress: a six year longitudinal and nationwide study. Medical Education, 41(8), 781-787.
Wagnild, G., Young, H. M. (1993). Development and psychometric evaluation of the Resilience Scale. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 1, 165–178.
Wagnild, G. (2009). The Resilience Scale user’s guide for the US English version of the Resilience Scale and the 14-item Resilience Scale (RS–14). Worden, MT: Resilience Center.
Wagnild, G. (2009b). A review of the Resilience Scale. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 17, 105–113.
Watson, D., Wiese, D., Vaidya, J., & Tellegen, A. (1999). The two general activation systems of affect: Structural findings, evolutionary considerations, and psychobiological evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 820–838.
Yang, Y., Li, M., & Xia, Y. (2012). Measurement invariance of the Resilience Scale. The International Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment, 11, 1–19.

How to Cite

Motorga, R. (2019). Personality and resilience in medical students. Studia Doctoralia, 10(2), 78–89.