Introduction: There is wide variation in the success rates of practitioners employed to help smokers to stop, even once a range of potential confounding factors has been taken into account.
Aim: This paper examined whether personality characteristics of practitioners might play a role success rates.
Methods: Data from 1,958 stop-smoking treatment episodes in two stop-smoking services (SSS) involving 19 stop-smoking practitioners were used in the analysis. The outcome measure was clients’ biochemically verified quit status 4 weeks after the target quit date. The five dimensions of personality, as assessed by the Ten-Item Personality Inventory, were included as predictor variables: openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, and neuroticism. A range of client and other practitioner characteristics were used as covariates. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to determine if managers' ratings of practitioner personality were also associated with clients’ quit status.
Results: Multi-level random intercept models indicated that clients of practitioners with a higher extraversion score had greater odds of being abstinent at four weeks (self-assessed: OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.01–1.19; manager-assessed: OR = 1.32, 95% CI = 1.21–1.44).
Conclusions: More extraverted stop smoking practitioners appear to have greater success in advising their clients to quit smoking. Findings need to be confirmed in larger practitioner populations, other SSS, and in different smoking cessation contexts. If confirmed, specific training may be needed to assist more introverted stop smoking practitioners.