Introduction and objective:
A criterion for the efficacy of dietetic counseling is a change in patients’ health behaviours. The patient-centred counseling approach in dietetics is believed to successfully induce behaviour changes. The aim of the study was to verify the assumption that students of dietetics at medical universities declare a preference for the ways of practicing dietetics which require direct work with patients, revealing a personality profile that allows implementation of the indicated approach.

Material and methods:
Materials and method. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 427 dietetics students aged 19–31 (M = 21.44, SD = 2.21) at medical universities. Those declaring preference for the ways of practicing dietetics that entail direct contact with patients made up the criterion group. The control group was composed of students declaring preference for career paths not implying direct work with patients. The study employed Polish versions of the NEO-FFI Personality Inventory and the Schwartz Value Survey.

Results. There are four predictors of choosing career options entailing work with patients: agreeableness and conscientiousness (personality traits) and openness to change and self-transcendence (value meta-categories). When agreeableness and conscientiousness rise by 1 SD, the odds for a declared choice of working with patients increase by 151% and 139%, respectively. In turn, an increase in openness to change and self-transcendence by 1 SD translates into a decline in the chances of choosing this option by 40% and 38%, respectively.

Conclusions. Dietetics students at medical universities declaring a preference for direct work with patients show a personality predisposition to carefully perform professional tasks at ‘technical level’, and a poor predisposition to implement the patient-centred counseling approach.

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