The impact of personality traits on attitudes toward learning communication skills

Keywords: Medical Education, Learning, Medical Students


Aims: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between personality traits and attitudes toward learning communication skills in undergraduate medical students. The relation between students’ attitudes and personality trait could help us identify those who those who will need more support to develop communication skills, based on their personality traits.
Methods: The data was collected data from an intentional and cross-sectional sample composed of 204 students from three Brazilian universities. The students answered questionnaires containing the Communication Skills Attitude Scale (CSAS-BR) and the Big Five Mini-Markers (BFMM) for personality. Data were analyzed using frequency calculations, principal components analysis, and the multiple linear regression model.
Results: Seven among 26 items of the original Communication Skills Attitude Scale (CSAS) presented factor loads lower than |0.30| and must be excluded in the CSAS -BR that showed one domain including positive and negative attitudes. The value of Cronbach’s alpha of the 19-item scale was 0.894. The BFMM showed similar dimensional results with five domains with Cronbach’s alpha values of 0.804 for Extroversion, 0.753 for agreeableness, 0.755 for conscientiousness, 0.780 for neuroticism and 0.668 for openness. There were positive and statically significant linear associations with the CSAS-BR and agreeableness (β: 0.230, p<0.001), extraversion (β: 0.150, p=0.030), and openness to experience (β: 0.190, p=0.010). These personality factors drive social interactions and interpersonal relations, which involve the tendency to be friendly, flexible, and cooperative; to show a willing disposition; and the ability to actively engage with others.
Conclusions: Based on the methods applied in this study, the results demonstrated a relation between agreeableness, extraversion and openness to experience with attitudes on communication skills in students from three Brazilian universities. Our results suggest that the evaluation of personality traits can contribute to the recognition of students for whom the establishment of special teaching strategies can improve communication skills.


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Author Biographies

Camila Ament Giuliani dos Santos Franco, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná

Family Physician, MD, PhD. Professor at the School of Medicine (discipline of Family Medicine), Pontifical University of Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil. 

Renato Soleiman Franco, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná

Psychiatrist, MD, PhD. Professor at the School of Medicine (discipline of Psychiatry), Pontifical University of Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil.  Director of the Psychiatry Residency Program – FEAES/PMC, Curitiba.

Dario Cecilio-Fernandes, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), School of Medical Sciences. Campinas, São Paulo

Department of Medical Psychology and Psychiatry, School of Medical Sciences.

Milton Severo, University of Porto, Faculty of Medicine. Porto, Porto

Faculty of Medicine - Public Health and Forensic Sciences, and Medical Education Department.

Maria Amélia Ferreira, University of Porto, Faculty of Medicine. Porto, Porto

Faculty of Medicine - Public Health and Forensic Sciences, and Medical Education Department.


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How to Cite
Giuliani dos Santos Franco, C. A., Franco, R. S., Cecilio-Fernandes, D., Severo, M., & Ferreira, M. A. (2020). The impact of personality traits on attitudes toward learning communication skills. Scientia Medica, 30(1), e37326.
Original Articles