Impact of Religious Values and Medical Specialty on Professional Inservice Decisions

Volume 25
Winter 1997
Impact of Religious Values and Medical Specialty on Professional Inservice Decisions

Research indicates that professional group and religion affect decision making. Five hundred board-certified physicians from each of 5 specialty areas (General Surgery, Psychiatry, Internal Medicine, Pathology, and Family Practice) were mailed vignettes reflecting 1 of 4 value systems (Evangelical Christian, Liberal Protestant, Humanist, or Hindu) in a randomized survey. One hundred twenty-five vignettes of every value system were mailed to each specialty yielding a total of 500 per specialty. Respondents were asked to rate 1 vignette which provided a brief description of a professional inservice. Questions for rating covered approval and interest in the training as well as requests for respondent descriptive information. About 40% of the total group responded. Humanist and Hindu vignettes were clearly more approved than Liberal Protestant and Evangelical Christian (EC) vignettes. Medical specialty was not an independent factor but was significant in interaction with value type. Personal interest/value similarity correlated highly with approval ratings. Dissimilarity with parental religious values was a frequent moderating variable and varied significantly among medical specialty groups. Religious values influence medical nonclinical decisions. Implications concerning separation of church and state issues, research strategy, and medical ethical and training activities were discussed to encourage more openness in the area of medical decisions and theistic/nontheistic religious values.

Dr. J.K. Neumann and Dr. F.V. Leppien
437 - 448
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