To strike or not to strike? House-staff attitudes and behaviors during a hospital work action

Richard L Kravitz, L. Linn, N. Tennant, E. Adkins, B. Zawacki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Work actions by house staff are an infrequent response to sometimes difficult working conditions, but they can have a notable effect on institutional cohesiveness and represent a challenge to traditional notions of medical ethics. To determine the extent of participation in a hospital-wide doctors' strike and factors associated with participation, we surveyed 432 house officers at a university-affiliated public hospital where a contract dispute had recently led to a 4-day work action. Of 257 respondents, 69% approved of the strike and 50% participated in it. Both strikers and nonstrikers agreed that quality of care and specific contract issues were important precipitants of the event. By logistic regression, factors independently associated with strike participation (P < .05) included being unmarried, training in internal medicine or psychiatry, being in earlier stages of training, being assigned to an outpatient service at the time of the strike, holding a favorable view of physician activism, and perceiving nurses, faculty, peers, and the public to have favored the strike. These associations may provide a basis for understanding the individual and social determinants of house-staff strike activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-519
Number of pages5
JournalWestern Journal of Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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