Doctor’s Personality and His Propensity to Use Defence Medicine

Viktoras Justickis, Rita Bandzevičienė, Laimutis Paškevičius, Ina Božokienė


Defensive medicine is a faulty phenomenon in the healthcare when a physician instead of doing his best to help his patient is concentrated on defending himself from any legal prosecution in the case on unsuccessful treatment. Empirical studies in Lithuania have demonstrated the prevalence and adverse consequences of this phenomenon in this country (Labanauskas and Justickis, 2011). These studies have discovered many factors promoting the spread of defensive medicine. Of special importance has been the discovery of broad differences among physicians in their ability to resist the effect of the factors promoting the defence medicine (Labanauskas and Justickis, 2013).
The aim of the current study is to investigate interconnections between doctor’s susceptibility to factors promoting defence medicine and his personality.
101 physicians working at the Kaunas city hospital participated in the study. The research tools include NEO-PI-R test designed for the examination of the basic personality traits and inventory for the study of doctors’ propensity to use the methods of the defence medicine (IUDM – Inventory for the study of the Use of Defensive Medicine).
A close link between doctor’s personality and his propensity to use defensive medicine and the mono-factorial nature of this link was demonstrated. It was shown that the link connecting one’s personality and the propensity to use defensive medicine is the doctor’s neurotism.
This provided the opportunity to single out the part of physicians that are most vulnerable for factors promoting defensive medicine and who need psychological and other support resisting the effect of these factors. This provides a new opportunity for prevention of a multi-sided approach to prevention of adverse events that have been caused by doctors’ propensity to defensive medicine (Paškevičius, 2014).


doctor’s personality; defensive medicine; adverse events; doctor’s liability; Balint groups

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