A preliminary measurement of the surgical personality

James McGreevy, Deborah Wiebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Background: We used the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (Psychological Resources, Inc.) to test for a distinct surgical personality. Methods: The NEO-PI-R is a compilation of 240 statements. Subjects agree or disagree with the statements, generating a score in five personality traits according to the five factor theory: neuroticism (N), extraversion (E), openness (O), agreeableness (A), and conscientiousness (C). Each score is compared with that for the general population. Results: Twenty-four male and 15 female surgical residents voluntarily took the inventory. Compared to the general population, males scored lower in N (p <0.05), higher in E (P <0.001), O (P <0.05) and C (p <0.001), and average in A (no significant difference). Females scored average in N and A (no significant difference), and higher in E (p <0.001), O (P <0.05), and C (P <0.001). Conclusions: The similarity of trait variance from the general population in both male and female surgical residents supports the concept of a surgical personality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-125
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 24 2002


  • NEO PI-R
  • Personality traits
  • Surgery residents
  • Surgical personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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