Beyond the Big 5: Using the Hexaco P-IR to Predict Success in a Dpt Program
Purpose/Hypothesis: Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs are evaluated on their ability to matriculate students who can successfully graduate and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. With the high costs of higher education, it is in the students' and programs' best interests to develop means of identifying those individuals who have the greatest potential for success in these programs. To this point, researchers have struggled to identify consistent predictors of success in physical therapy education beyond traditional academic indicators such as undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Exploration of non-academic factors, such as personality traits, using common psychological assessments like the Big Five Inventory and the Grit Scale, has produced mixed results. Recently, psychologists have increasingly recommended use of the HEXACO Personality Inventory as a more comprehensive assessment of personality traits and better predictor of outcomes over traditional measures like the Big Five. This study was designed to measure the correlation between dimensions of personality as measured by the HEXACO Personality Inventory-Revised (HEXACO PI-R) and academic success as measured by first-year GPA in a DPT program. Additionally, we assessed whether first-year GPA could be predicted from any of these personality factors. Number of Subjects: 26 Materials and Methods: 26 incoming DPT students, 8 males, 18 females, mean age 22.5 years old (± 1.1 SD) completed the HEXACO PI-R electronically prior to their first semester in the program. The HEXACO PI-R is a validated 100-item survey that assesses six dimensions of personality: honesty-humility, emotionality, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience. Each of the six dimensions can be further assessed on four facet-level scales including traits such as modesty, anxiety, social self-esteem, flexibility and diligence. Results of this assessment, along with undergraduate GPA, GRE scores and first-year DPT GPA were provided to researchers by the Program Director's office with all identifying information removed. Correlation and regression analyses were performed on these variables with first-year DPT GPA as the outcome measure. Results: Response rate for the HEXACO PI-R survey was 92.9%. Modesty was moderately negatively correlated with first-year DPT GPA (r = -.538, p < .01). Fair positive correlations for DPT GPA were found with social self-esteem (r=.430, p < .05), diligence (r=.449, p < .05) and conscientiousness (r=.403, p<.05). A multiple linear regression was calculated to predict first-year DPT GPA based on the variables of modesty, social self-esteem, diligence and conscientiousness. A significant regression equation was found (F(4,21)=4.932, p<.01) with an R2 of .484. Conclusions: Higher scores in social self-esteem, diligence and conscientiousness and lower modesty scores are associated with higher first-year DPT GPA. These scores are also significant predictors of first-year DPT GPA. Clinical Relevance: Results of the HEXACO PI-R may be a useful adjunct to traditional admissions criteria for physical therapy education programs. This form of personality testing may identify promising physical therapy students that may not score as highly on traditional academic criteria. Taking a holistic approach to evaluating applicants' potential for academic success in a Doctor of Physical Therapy is important for diversity and inclusiveness of physical therapy professions. Further multi-site research with larger samples is needed to validate these results to the larger population.