Satisfaction, commitment, and psychological well-being among HMO physicians

West J Med. 2001 Jan;174(1):13-8. doi: 10.1136/ewjm.174.1.13.


Objective: To identify the factors that predict professional satisfaction, organizational commitment, and burnout among physicians working for health maintenance organizations (HMOs).

Methods and participants: Data came from mail surveys of Kaiser Permanente physicians in the Northwest and Ohio regions. The average response rate was 80% (n = 608).

Results: The single most important predictor for all 3 outcomes was a sense of control over the practice environment. Other significant predictors included perceived work demands, social support from colleagues, and satisfaction with resources. The relative importance of these predictors varied, depending on the outcome under consideration. All 3 outcomes were also related to physician age and specialty. Older physicians had higher levels of satisfaction and commitment and lower levels of burnout. Pediatricians were more satisfied and committed to the HMO and were less likely to burn out.

Conclusions: Physicians who perceive greater control over the practice environment, who perceive that their work demands are reasonable, and who have more support from colleagues have higher levels of satisfaction, commitment to the HMO, and psychological well-being. Interventions and administrative changes that give physicians more control over how they do their professional work and that enhance social supports are likely to improve both physician morale and performance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations*
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • United States