Cross-national comparison of job satisfaction in doctors during economic recession

Occup Med (Lond). 2014 Dec;64(8):595-600. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqu114. Epub 2014 Aug 19.


Background: Job satisfaction in doctors is related to migration, burnout, turnover and health service quality. However, little is known about their job satisfaction during economic recessions. Iceland and Norway have similar health care systems, but only Iceland was affected severely by the 2008 economic crisis.

Aims: To examine job satisfaction in Icelandic and Norwegian doctors, to compare job satisfaction with Icelandic data obtained before the current recession and to examine job satisfaction in response to cost-containment initiatives.

Methods: A survey of all doctors working in Iceland during 2010, a representative comparison sample of Norwegian doctors from 2010 and a historic sample of doctors who worked at Landspitali University Hospital in Iceland during 2003. The main outcome measure was job satisfaction, which was measured using a validated 10-item scale.

Results: Job satisfaction levels in Icelandic doctors (response rate of 61%, n = 622/1024), mean = 47.7 (SD = 10.9), were significantly lower than those of Norwegian doctors (response rate of 67%, n = 1025/1522), mean = 53.2 (SD = 8.5), after controlling for individual and work-related factors. Doctors at Landspitali University Hospital (response rate of 59%, n = 345/581) were less satisfied during the recession. Multiple regression analysis showed that cost-containment significantly affected job satisfaction (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Job satisfaction in doctors was lower in Iceland than in Norway, which may have been attributable partly to the current economic recession.

Keywords: Economic recession; Iceland; Norway; health services; job satisfaction; physician..

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Economic Recession*
  • Humans
  • Iceland / epidemiology
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Physicians / economics
  • Physicians / psychology
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires