Monday, August 22, 2005

Doctors and Divine Guidance

When it comes to divine guidance, Psychiatrists and Radiologists are the most practical among us (36% and 27%, respectively). At the other end of the spectrum, Family Practitioners and Anesthesiologists are the ones most likely to look to God for strength, support and guidance (58% and 56%). Ob/Gyns come in at 49%.

Other interesting findings:

Physicians and population members are equally likely to have some religious affiliation, but physicians are much more likely to belong to religious traditions that are underrepresented in the United States. Physicians are more likely than population members to attend religious services regularly, but less likely to consciously make efforts to apply their religious beliefs to other areas of life. Physicians are more likely to describe themselves as "spiritual" as distinct from religious, whereas for the general population, spirituality and religion appear to be more tightly connected. Finally, our data suggest that patients and physicians are likely to differ in their reliance upon God as a means of coping and making decisions in the context of major illness. While most patients will "look to God for strength, support, and guidance," most physicians will instead try to "make sense of the situation and decide what to do without relying on God." How such differences shape the clinical encounter is unknown.


Religious Affiliation of Physicians Compared With the U.S. Population












AffiliationPhysicians, %U.S. Population, %
Protestant38.854.7
Catholic21.726.7
Jewish14.11.9
None10.613.3
Hindu5.30.2
Muslim2.70.5
Orthodox2.20.5
Mormon1.70.4
Buddhist1.20.2
Other1.81.6
Total100100

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