Religiosity and Ethical Ideology of Physicians: A Cross-Cultural Study
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In this study of ethical ideology and religiosity, 1,255 physicians from Canada, China, Ireland, India, Japan and Thailand participated. Forsyth’s (1980) Ethical Position Questionnaire and Rohrbaugh and Jessor’s (J Pers 43:136–155, 1975) Religiosity Measure were used as the survey instruments. The results demonstrated that physicians from India, Thailand and China reported significantly higher rates of idealism than physicians from Canada and Japan. India, Thailand and China also scored significantly higher than Ireland. Physicians from Japan and India reported significantly higher rates of relativism than physicians from Canada, Ireland, Thailand and China. Physicians from China also reported higher rates of relativism than physicians from Canada, Ireland and Thailand. Overall, religiosity was positively associated with idealism and negatively associated with relativism. This study is the first to explore the differences between ethical ideology and religiosity among physicians in an international setting as well as the relationship between these two constructs. Both religiosity and ethical ideology are extremely generalized, and the extent to which they may impact the actual professional behaviour of physicians is unknown. This paper sets up a point of departure for future research that could investigate the extent to which physicians actually employ their religious and/or ethical orientation to solve ambiguous medical decisions.
KeywordsPhysicians Ethics Religiosity cross-cultural
This research was supported through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Grant to David Cruise Malloy and Thomas Hadjistavropoulos.
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