Ethical issues in primary health care: A survey of practitioners' perceptions

Helen M. Robillard, Dallas M. High, Juliann G. Sebastian, Janet I. Pisaneschi, Lea J. Perritt, D. Mark Mahler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


While most health care is provided at the primary care level, little research has been done to document the ethical issues of such care. A stratified random sample of 702 physicians, nurses, physical therapist, and physician assistants within one southeastern state was surveyed to determine the frequency of ethical issues in primary care. The most frequently occurring issue concerned moral decisions about the amount of time to spend with each patient. A comparison of physician and nonphysician professional groups revealed significant differences in frequencies of the issues. Age had a slight impact on the responses, while gender, religion, and region of practice had none. The study showed that the most frequently occurring issues are pragmatic, not dramatic, and center on patient self-determination, adequacy of care and professional responsibility, and distribution of resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-17
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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