Altruism and Primary Healthcare Workers’ Job Satisfaction: Findings from Central Vietnam

  •  Midori Matsushima    
  •  Hiroyuki Yamada    
  •  Yasuharu Shimamura    
  •  Nguyen Minh Tam    


To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly to promote healthy living and well-being for all ages, we must ensure a high quality of healthcare services at primary facilities. However, the shortage of healthcare workers in primary facilities is a problem in many countries, including Vietnam. Despite concerns about the low job satisfaction of health workers and value of altruism in this field, no existing research has thus far addressed its effect on job satisfaction. This study thus contributes to the body of knowledge on healthcare workers’ job satisfaction by observing the role of altruism.

We conducted a quantitative analysis by using data collected from healthcare workers employed at primary facilities in central Vietnam in 2014. The survey administered to healthcare workers (n=241) included a hypothetical dictator game questionnaire to elicit their level of altruism. We then used an ordered probit model to examine the factors associated with healthcare workers’ job satisfaction, focusing particularly on altruism by controlling for both individual-level attributes and the condition of their workplaces.

We found that a higher level of altruism is associated with lower job satisfaction. Further analysis revealed that more altruistic workers are also likely to have a stricter self-evaluation of healthcare quality, including the availability of drugs. Altruistic healthcare workers may be frustrated when working in environments in which resources are constrained and workers cannot perform to their full ability despite a wish to help others.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.