Personality profile and coping resources of family medicine vocational trainees at the University of Limpopo, South Africa
Background: Doctors are exposed to various stress factors in their personal and family lives, as well as in the workplace. Stress inherent to the responsibilities and challenges of the medical field may become a health hazard and threaten the well-being of the medical practitioner.
Methods: The aim of this study was to investigate the personality traits and coping resources that contribute to the wellbeing of medical practitioners. A cross-sectional study of 44 out of 45 (98% response rate) family medicine vocational trainees at the Medical University of Southern Africa (now known as the University of Limpopo) was conducted. A biographic questionnaire was utilised to obtain specific information regarding the participants. The principal researcher used the Coping
Resources Inventory (CRI) questionnaire to assess coping resources, and the 16PF personality analysis (16PF) to establish a personality profile of the participants.
Results: The majority of participants (81.8%) indicated that they mainly experienced work-related stress. Thirty-two participants (72.72%) self-medicated. Fourteen participants (31.81%) claimed to experience burn-out and twenty (45.45%) reported fatigue. In terms of their coping resources, 24 male participants (54.54%) did not cope socially (p ≤ 0.008) and eight (18.18%) also did not cope physically (p ≤ 0.024).
Conclusions: The medical practitioners had a universal personality profile. They lacked insight regarding the symptoms they were experiencing that warranted management, e.g. depression and anxiety. The medical practitioners in this study did not utilise their social and physical coping resources optimally and reported poor help-seeking behaviour.
Keywords: personality; coping resources; family medicine; stress; vocational trainees