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ARTICLE |

The Role of Compulsiveness in the Normal Physician

Glen O. Gabbard, MD
JAMA. 1985;254(20):2926-2929. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360200078031.
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This article presents some observations from a workshop setting about the role of compulsiveness in the normal physician. Case examples illustrate the effect of this character trait on the professional, personal, and family life of the typical physician. Doubt, guilt feelings, and an exaggerated sense of responsibility form a compulsive triad in the personality of the physician. This triad manifests itself in both adaptive and maladaptive ways. This article focuses primarily on the maladaptive, including difficulty in relaxing, reluctance to take vacations from work, problems in allocating time to family, an inappropriate and excessive sense of responsibility for things beyond one's control, chronic feelings of "not doing enough," difficulty setting limits, hypertrophied guilt feelings that interfere with the healthy pursuit of pleasure, and the confusion of selfishness with healthy self-interest.

(JAMA 1985;254:2926-2929)

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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