Original Research

Job satisfaction, personality traits, and its impact on motivation among mental health workers

Oladipo A. Sowunmi
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 28 | a1801 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v28i0.1801 | © 2022 Oladipo A. Sowunmi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 September 2021 | Published: 18 March 2022

About the author(s)

Oladipo A. Sowunmi, Department of Clinical Services, Neuropsychiatric Hospital Aro, Abeokuta, Nigeria


Background: Working in a resource setting that caters to people’s poor mental health is associated with increased vulnerability to physical, psychological, and social stressors that make motivation to work a difficult goal to attain. One way of viewing physical and social stressors in the workplace is to evaluate job satisfaction which has both intrinsic and extrinsic components. The personality of workers is a component of psychological wellbeing and this determines the way events and situations are perceived. Thus, the achievement of the mission and vision of an organisation will be dependent on the level of motivation of the employees which will be influenced by their predominant personality traits and the level of satisfaction at work.

Aim: My study aimed to sought to highlight the relationship between motivation, job satisfaction and personality dimensions.

Setting: The Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.

Methods: Our study involved a cross-sectional study of staff showing the relationship between motivation, job satisfaction and personality traits among mental health workers. A total of 146 participants using systematic proportional sampling were analysed with a response rate of 67.3%. A Socio-demographic Questionnaire, Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (Short Version), Big Five Inventory and the Multidimensional Work-Motivation Scale were administered to the participants. In the analysis, linear correlation and linear regression were used to determine the relationship between continuous variables (Normality was determined using kurtosis and skewness) while t-test was used to determine the relationship between categorical independent variables and continuous dependent variables.

Results: The level of significance was set at < 0.05 while higher scores using the Multidimensional Work-Motivation Scale represented motivated participants and vis-a-vis. The socio-demographic variable was explored using descriptive statistics; the relationship between personality, job satisfaction and motivation were explored using t-test. Most of the participants were married (80.8%), female (60.3%), with at least tertiary education (63%) and with an occupational status of class I (76%). The mean age of the participants was 40.29 ± 8.27 with a mean length of service of 13.63 ± 8.49. The most dominant personality traits were agreeableness (97.3%) and conscientiousness (97.3%), and the least was neuroticism (55.5). High agreeableness (0.01), high conscientiousness (0.03), and high openness (0.01) were significant and positively correlated with motivation. The relationship between motivation and gender (t = 4.26; p ≤ 0.001) and occupational status were statistically significant (t = -3.59; p ≤ 0.001).

Conclusion: To proffer a solution to poor motivation in the workplace, human resource department should give more focus to individuals with high scores in agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness. This is because it appears that they are more likely to be motivated at work and likely to move the organisation to a greater height. Besides, those with high neurotic scores who have already been employed will require some form of psychological remodelling (therapy), so they can contribute meaningfully to the institution.


job satisfaction; personality; motivation; Aro; Abeokuta; mental health


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