The present study examined whether there are differences in job-related attitudes and well-being among physicians working in private sector and public sector. In addition, we examined whether psychosocial factors (organizational justice and job control) could mediate these possible differences in different sectors.
Cross-sectional survey data from the Finnish Health Professional Study was used. A random sample of Finnish physicians included 1522 women and 1047 men aged 25-65 years. Outcome variables were job satisfaction, organizational commitment, psychological distress, work ability and sleeping problems. Job control and organizational justice were measured using established questionnaires. Series of regression analyses were performed and the mediational effects were tested following the procedures outlined by Baron and Kenny.
Physicians working in private sector had higher levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment and lower levels of psychological distress and sleeping problems when compared with physicians working in public sector. Private physicians also had higher levels of organizational justice, which acted as a mediator behind more positive attitudes and better well-being in private sector. Private physicians had higher levels of job control but it did not act as a mediator.
Private physicians feel better than public physicians and this is partly due to higher organizational justice in private sector. Public health care organizations should invest effort to increase the fairness in their organizations and management and pay more attention in improving the well-being of their employees, which could possibly increase the attractiveness of public sector as a career option.