Refining the measurement of physician job satisfaction: Results from the physician worklife survey

Eric S. Williams, Thomas R. Konrad, Mark Linzer, Julia McMurray, Donald E. Pathman, Martha Gerrity, Mark D. Schwartz, William E. Scheckler, Judith Van Kirk, Elnora Rhodes, Jeff Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

216 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Physician job satisfaction has been linked to various patient care and health system outcomes. A survey instrument that concisely measures physicians' satisfaction with various job facets can help diverse stake-holders to better understand and manage these outcomes. To document the development and validation of a multidimensional physician job satisfaction measure and separate global satisfaction measures. DESIGN. Self-administered questionnaire: Physician Worklife Survey (PWS). SUBJECTS. A pilot study employed a national American Medical Association Masterfile sample of US primary care physicians and random samples from four states. Responses (n = 835; 55% return rate) were randomly assigned to developmental (n = 560) or cross-validation (n = 275) samples. A national sample (n = 2,325; 52% response rate) of physicians was used in a subsequent validation study. RESULTS. A 38-item, 10-facet satisfaction measure resulting from factor and reliability analyses of 70 pilot items was further reduced to 36 items. Reliabilities of the 10 facets ranged from .65 to .77. Three scales measuring global job, career, and specialty satisfaction were also constructed with reliabilities from .84 to .88. Results supported face, content, convergent, and discriminant validity of the measures. CONCLUSIONS. Physician job satisfaction is a complex phenomenon that can be measured using the PWS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1140-1154
Number of pages15
JournalMedical care
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1999


  • Job satisfaction
  • Measurement
  • Physician
  • Psychometrics


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