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J Dent Educ. 2005 Nov;69(11):1222-37.

Personality as a predictor of professional behavior in dental school: comparisons with dental practitioners.

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Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada.


The purpose of this study was to examine the use of personality measures to predict the success of dental students (N = 87) in clinical and academic courses and to compare their personality profiles to those of dental practitioners (N = 130). A second purpose of the study was to develop a new criterion measure, the Student Professionalism Scale, based on competencies previously identified as necessary for professional success. The Canadian Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) predicted first-year, preclinical academic success; the DAT Reading Comprehension component predicted third-year clinical performance; and Perceptual Ability, the ability to deal with two- and three-dimensional objects, predicted student professionalism. Results from the personality measure indicated that Conscientiousness and Neuroticism, and to a lesser extent Agreeableness, were significant predictors of both first-year academic performance and professional behavior. In comparing the personality profiles of dental students to dental practitioners, students who were more similar to the dentists did better in their first year of coursework. Implications of the findings are discussed in the context of the dental admissions process.

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