Professional Well-Being of Practicing Physicians: The Roles of Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • This study investigated the roles of basic psychological needs—autonomy, competence, and relatedness—in physicians’ professional well-being, specifically satisfaction with professional life, work-related engagement, and exhaustion. Using an online survey, quantitative data were collected from 57 practicing physicians. Overall, 65% of the participants were female; 49% were family medicine (FM) physicians, with the rest of the participants practicing in various non-FM specialties (e.g., internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery); and 47% were in the early-career stage (≤10 years in practice). Multivariate regression analyses indicated that of the three psychological needs, the need for relatedness had the largest unique contributions to physicians’ satisfaction with professional life, work-related engagement, and exhaustion, respectively. The unique contributions of the needs for autonomy and competence were relatively small. These findings extend basic psychological needs theory to the work domain of practicing physicians in an attempt to examine underpinnings of physicians’ professional well-being, a critical component of quality patient care.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Babenko, O. (2018). Professional well-being of practicing physicians: The roles of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Healthcare, Special Issue: Humanities and Healthcare, 6, 12. DOI:
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