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J Natl Med Assoc. 2004 October; 96(10): 1283-9, 1294.
PMCID: PMC2568518

Physician race and ethnicity, professional satisfaction, and work-related stress: results from the Physician Worklife Study.

M. Maria Glymour, Somnath Saha, JudyAnn Bigby, and Society of General Internal Medicine Career Satisfaction Study Group


There are limited data about minority physicians' professional satisfaction and job stress. In this study, we describe by race and ethnicity, satisfaction, and job stress among a national sample of physician. We analyzed data from 2,217 respondents to the Physicians' Worklife Survey (PWS), a career satisfaction survey of physicians drawn from the AMA Physician Masterfile. Scales measuring overall job and career satisfaction and work-related stress were constructed from Likert-response items. We examined the association between physician ethnicity and each of these scales. Respondents included 57 black, 134 Hispanic, 400 Asian or Pacific Islander, and 1,626 white physicians. In general, minority physicians appeared to serve a more demanding patient base than did white physicians. Hispanic physicians reported significantly higher job (p=0.05) and career (p=0.03) satisfaction compared to white physicians but no significant difference in stress. Asian or Pacific Islander physicians averaged lower job satisfaction (p=001) and higher stress (p<0.01) compared to white physicians. Black physicians did not differ significantly from white physicians on any of the three measures. Significant racial and ethnic variations were found with respect to several specific satisfaction domains: autonomy, patient care issues, relations with staff, relations with the community, pay, and resources.

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