Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


Failure of medical students to pass Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE Step 1) can create psychological, academic and financial crises for the students, educational institutions and, ultimately, the public by negatively influencing the cost of health care.

Medical students from the University of Kansas School of Medicine (n = 377) and from varying United States of America medical schools enrolled at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, Institute for Professional Preparation (n = 109) had participated voluntarily in ongoing research data gathering. Results from this voluntary testing with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Adult Personality Inventory (API) and self-report demographic data questionnaire for Ethnicity/Race and Gender were examined for personality factor variables appearing to be associated with success or failure by medical students on the USMLE Step 1. The goal was to facilitate future targeting of possibly “at risk” students for preventive academic review and psychological bolstering.

Statistical analyses were performed on the data by running contingency analyses, univariate F tests, discriminant function analyses, Chi-square and correlation analyses. Results indicated that subjects who passed the USMLE Step 1 scored higher on the API in the areas of Competitive and Extraverted and lower on Enterprising, while being characterized by the Thinking orientation of the MBTI. Further, those who passed were more likely to be male and Caucasian/White and significantly less likely to be Black. Those who failed the USMLE Step 1 tended to score higher on the API Enterprising and lower on Competitive and Extraverted, while being characterized by the MBTI Feeling orientation. Additionally, those who failed tended to be Black, female and were less likely to be Caucasian/White. 86.0% of cases were correctly classified by the function.

Suggestions for counseling practice, proactive or immediate interventions, and implications for future research are discussed in light of these results.