How personality affects teamwork: a study in multidisciplinary obstetrical simulation

Shena J. Dillon, Whitney Kleinmann, Angela Seasely, Rebecca Ames, Phyllis Dyess-Nugent, Donald D. McIntire, Ellen Suen, David B. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Multidisciplinary simulation has been shown to improve teamwork in the obstetrical literature by providing a safe, but realistic, environment for participants to learn. However, the impact of team members’ personality traits on how the team performs during an obstetrical emergency has not been studied in medicine. Objective: Our objective was to evaluate teamwork and communication of simulation participants in association with personality traits within a multidisciplinary obstetrical simulation program. Study Design: This was a prospective observational study of postpartum hemorrhage simulations involving participants from Obstetrics, Nursing, Midwifery, and Anesthesia. Before simulation, individual personality testing was performed on participants using the Big Five Inventory. Each team was scored using the Clinical Teamwork Scale after simulation. Communication and teamwork scores were evaluated for association, and personality traits were analyzed for association with teamwork and communication. For each personality trait, an interaction model was tested for 3 of the team scores: teamwork, communication, and situational awareness. Analysis of variance with 2 level interactions was used in this effort. Results: From July 2018 to June 2019, 22 obstetrical simulations were performed with a total of 270 staff. Overall, teamwork was significantly associated with communication for each team. When examining individual personality scores, neuroticism was negatively associated with teamwork when coupled with communication. That is, increased neuroticism was significantly associated with increased communication that was detrimental to the overall teamwork. Other personality traits were not significantly associated with teamwork and communication (P=.03). Conclusion: In a multidisciplinary simulation, communication was positively associated with teamwork, and specific personality traits negatively affected team performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100303
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics & gynecology MFM
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • communication
  • personality testing
  • simulation
  • teamwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Medicine(all)


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