Personality, spirituality and their relation to well-being in physicians of various specialties
More details
Hide details
Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland
Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland
Submission date: 2016-06-17
Final revision date: 2016-09-27
Acceptance date: 2016-09-27
Online publication date: 2017-01-31
Publication date: 2017-01-31
Health Psychology Report 2017;5(3):205-218
Based on the available literature, four hypotheses were formulated: the group of physicians differs from the control group in terms of personality traits and the level of spirituality (H1); specific personality traits in physicians predict the level of particular components of spirituality (H2); Spirituality is a predictor of Well-Being (H3); considering the specialties that physicians have as well as Spirituality, they will differentiate this group according to the level of the sense of Well-Being (H4).

Participants and procedure
The aim of the present study was to compare and test the relations between personality and spirituality and between spirituality and well-being in physicians of various specialties (internists, pediatricians, neurologists, surgeons, and emergency medicine specialists) (n = 100, control group n = 93).

Our research confirmed most of the hypotheses, also showing how important it is to differentiate between physicians of different specialties. We found that physicians differ from the control group in terms of Extraversion and Openness, but do not differ according to Spirituality (H1). The most frequent predictor of spirituality proved to be Agreeableness, followed by Openness and Conscientiousness (H2). Contrary to assumptions in the present study (H3), spirituality is not a predictor of Satisfaction With Life in physicians, but according to Basic Emotions it is, including with regard to the specialties physicians have (H4).

Generally, we found a relationship between spirituality and basic emotions as a part of well-being, although the obtained results indicated a different pattern in the groups of neurologists and surgeons.
Allport, G. (1950). The Individual and His Religion: A Psychological Interpretation. Oxford, England: Macmillan.
Andrews, F. M., & Withey S. B. (1976). Social Indicators of well-being: America’s perceptions of life quality. New York: Plenum Press.
Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
Curling, F. A., Lantos, J. D., Roach, C. J., Sellergren, S. A., & Chin, M. H. (2005). Religious characteristics of U.S. physicians: a national survey. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 20, 629–634.
Dawis, R. V., & Lofquist, L. H. (1984). A psychological theory of work adjustment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Diener, E. (1984). Subjective Well-Being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542–575.
Diener, E., Emmons, R., Larson, R., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction with Life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.
Ellison, C. G., & Fan, D. (2008). Daily spiritual experiences and psychological well-being among U.S. adults. Social Indicators Research, 88, 247–271.
Emmons, R. A. (1999). The psychology of ultimate concerns. New York: Guilford Press.
Flynn, C. P. (1986). After the Beyond: Human Transformation and the Near–Death Experience. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
Francis, L. J. (1992). Religion, neuroticism, and psychoticism. In J. F. Schumaker (ed.), Religion and mental health (pp. 149–160). New York: Oxford University Press.
Frankl, V. E. (1975). The Unconsciousness God. Psychotherapy and Theology. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Grey, M. (1985). Return from Death. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Greyson, B. (1992-93). Near-death experiences and anti-suicidal attitudes. Omega, 26, 81–89.
Headey, B., & Wearing, A. (1991). Subjective well-being: a stocks and flows framework. In F. Strack, M. Argyle, & N. Schwarz (eds.), Subjective well-being – an interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 49–73). Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Heine, S. J., Proulx, T., & Vohs, K. D. (2006). The meaning maintenance model: On the coherence of social motivations. Personality and Social Psychological Review, 10, 88–111.
Heszen-Niejodek, I., & Gruszczyńska, E. (2004). Wymiar duchowy człowieka, jego znaczenie w psychologii zdrowia i jego pomiar [Spiritual dimension of the human being, its role in psychology of health and its measurement]. Przegląd Psychologiczny, 47, 15–31.
Hills, P., Francis, L. J., Argyle, M., & Jackson, C. J. (2004). Primary personality trait correlates of religious practice and orientation. Personality and Individual Differences, 36, 61–73.
Holland, J. L. (1992). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personalities and work environments. (2nd ed.). Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
Juczyński, Z. (2001). Narzędzia pomiaru w promocji i psychologii zdrowia [Tools for assessment in promotion and psychology of health]. Warszawa: PTP.
Koenig, H. G. (1997). Use of religion by patients with severe medical illness. Mind-Body Medicine, 2, 31–36.
Koenig, H. G., McCullough, M. E., & Larson, D. B. (2001). Handbook of religion and health. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kosek, R. B. (2000). The Desire for God: An assessment of seminarians’ spirituality through the lens of the “Big Five”. Pastoral Psychology, 49, 43–50.
Krok, D. (2009). Poziom duchowości a radzenie sobie ze stresem wywołanym chorobą nowotworową [Level of spirituality and coping with stress caused by tumour ilness]. Studia Psychologiczne, 47, 95–104.
Krok, D. (2014a). The religious meaning system and subjective well-being. Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 36, 253–273.
Krok, D. (2014b). Religijny system znaczeń i religijne radzenie sobie ze stresem a eudajmonistyczny dobrostan psychiczny [Religious system of meaning and religious coping with stress and eudaimonic well-being]. Roczniki Psychologiczne, 17, 647–664.
Levin, J. S., & Schiller, P. L. (1987). Is there a religious factor in health? Journal of Religion and Health, 26, 9–36.
Levin, J. S., Chatters, L. M., Ellison, C. G., & Taylor, R. J. (1996). Religious involvement, health outcomes, and public health practice. Current Issues in Public Health, 2, 220–225.
MacDonald, D. A. (2000). Spirituality: Description, measurement, and relation to the five-factor model of personality. Journal of Personality, 68, 153–197.
McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1986). Clinical assessment can benefit from recent advances in personality psychology. American Psychologist, 41, 1001–1003.
McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1999). A five-factor theory of personality. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (eds.), Handbook of personality (pp. 139–153). New York: Guilford.
McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. (2003). Personality in adulthood: A five-factor theory perspective (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
McLaughlin, S. A., & Maloney, H. N. (1984). Near-death experiences and religion: A further investigation. Journal of Religion and Health, 23, 149–159.
Myers, D. G., & Diener, E. (1995). Who is happy? Psychological Science, 6, 10–17.
Noyes, R. (1980). Attitude change following near-death experiences. Psychiatry, 43, 234–242.
Pargament, K. I. (1997). The Psychology of Religion and coping. New York, Guilford Press.
Park, C. L. (2013). Religion and meaning. In R. F. Paloutzian & C. L. Park (eds.), Handbook of the psychology of religion and spirituality (pp. 3–22). New York: Guilford Press.
Patrick, J. H., & Kinney, J. M. (2003). Why believe? The effects of religious beliefs on emotional well being. In S. H. McFadden, M. Brennan, & J. H. Patrick (eds.), New directions in the study of late life religiousness and spirituality (pp. 153–170). New York, Binghamton: Haworth Press.
Pervin, L. A., & John, O. P. (eds.). (1999). Handbook of Personality: Theory and Research (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
Piedmont, R. L. (1999). Does spirituality represent the sixth factor of personality? Spiritual transcendence and the five-factor model. Journal of Personality, 67, 985–1013.
Piedmont, R. L. (2005). The role of personality in understanding religious and spiritual constructs. In R. F. Paloutzian & C. L. Park (eds.), The Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (pp. 253–273). New York: Guilford Press.
Piedmont, R. (2010). ASPIRES – Assessment of spirituality and religious sentiments. Technical manual (2nd ed.). Timonium, MD: Author.
Piotrowski, J., Skrzypińska, K., & Żemojtel-Piotrowska, M. (2013). Skala Transcendencji Duchowej [Scale of Spiritual Transcendence. Construction and Validation]. Roczniki Psychologiczne, 16, 449–465.
Popielski, K. (1994). Noetyczny wymiar osobowości. Psychologiczna analiza poczucia sensu życia [Noetic dimension of personality. Psychological analysis of the meaning of life]. Lublin: Redakcja.
Wydawnictw KUL.
Ring, K. (1984). Heading toward omega: In search of the meaning of the near-death experience. New York, NY: William Morrow.
Saroglou, V. (2002). Religion and the five factors of personality: A meta-analytic review. Personality and Individual Differences, 32, 15–25.
Saroglou, V., Delpierre, V., & Dernelle, R. (2004). Values and religiosity: A meta-analysis of studies using Schwartz’s model. Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 721–734.
Saroglou, V. (2011). Believing, bonding, behaving, and belonging: The big four religious dimensions and cultural variation. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 42, 1320–1340.
Saroglou, V., & Fiasse, L. (2003). Birth order, personality, and religion: A study among young adults from a three-sibling family. Personality and Individual Differences, 35, 19–29.
Simpson, D. B., Newman, J. L., & Fuqua, D. R. (2007). Spirituality and personality: Accumulating evidence. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 26, 33–44.
Skrzypińska, K. (2002). Pogląd na świat a poczucie sensu i zadowolenia z życia [View of the world, meaning of life, and well-being]. Krakow: Oficyna Wydawnicza Impuls.
Skrzypińska, K. (2008). Dokąd zmierzam? – duchowość jako wymiar osobowości [Where Am I Going? – Spirituality as a Dimension of Personality]. Roczniki Psychologiczne, 11, 39–57.
Skrzypińska, K. (2012). Granice duchowości: Perspektywa pierwsza [Boundaries of Spirituality – the First Perspective]. Roczniki Psychologiczne, 1, 75–96.
Skrzypińska, K. (2014). The Threefold Nature of Spirituality in the inclusive cognitive framework. Archive for Psychology of Religion, 36, 277–302.
Skrzypińska, K., & Chudzik, I. (2012). Intricacies of the calling: Spirituality of Polish nuns. Women’s Studies International Forum, 35, 314–322.
Skrzypińska, K., & Atroszko, P. (2015). Ścieżka zawodowa w kontekście duchowości i osobowości człowieka [Occupational pathway in a context of spirituality and human personality]. Psychologia Rozwojowa, 20, 41–56.
Slater, W., Hall, T. W., & Edwards, K. J. (2001). Measuring religion and spirituality: where are we and where are we going? Journal of Psychology and Theology, 29, 4–21.
Streib, H., & Hood, R. W. (eds.). (2016). Semantics and Psychology of Spirituality. A Cross-Cultural Analysis. New York: Springer.
Super, D. E., Savickas, M. L., & Super, C. M. (1996). The Life-Span, Life-Space Approach to Careers. In D. Brown & L. Brooks (eds.), Career Choice and Development (3rd ed.) (pp. 121–178). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Wulff, D. (1997). Psychology of religion: Classic and contemporary (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley and Sons.
Zawadzki, B., Strelau, J., Szczepaniak, P., & Śliwiń­ska, M. (1998). Inwentarz osobowości NEO-FFI Costy i McCrae. Adaptacja polska. Podręcznik [Inventory of personality NEO-FFI by Costa and McCrae]. Warszawa: PTP.
Copyright: © Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top