Personal resilience and rural doctors retention: a study in Indonesia

Nicholas E. Handoyo, Gandes R. Rahayu, Mora Claramita, Julie Ash, Lambert W.T. Schuwirth

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    6 Citations (Scopus)
    30 Downloads (Pure)


    Introduction: Retaining the health workforce in rural areas is a global problem. Job dissatisfaction or work-related distress are among the factors that drive doctors to leave rural places. Resilience has been recognised as a key component of wellbeing and is associated with better satisfaction with life. Building personal resilience has the benefits of lowering vulnerability to work-related adversity. This study examined the association between rural doctors’ personal resilience and the duration of rural practice. Methods: This cross-sectional study was set in a rural province in Indonesia. A total sampling procedure was implemented. A total of 528 participants responded to an online survey. The survey tool measured six dimensions of a resilience profile (determination, endurance, adaptability, recuperability, comfort zone and life calling) and collected personal data such as date of birth, practice location and duration of rural practice experience. These participants were classified into four groups: intern, general (GP) with <5 years experience, GP with 5–10 years experience, and GP with >10 years experience. The data were analysed quantitatively using Oneway analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results: Doctors with longer durations of rural experience showed higher resilience levels in four of the dimensions of personal resilience: endurance, adaptability, recuperability and comfort zone. Among those four dimensions, endurance and comfort zone showed significant differences between groups with >10 years of difference in rural experience (p<0.05). The other two dimensions, determination and life calling, showed fluctuations across groups with different rural durations. Conclusion: This study provides a preliminary result for understanding the relationship between personal resilience and rural doctor retention. It suggests that resilience is partly associated with rural doctor retention. Further studies are needed to examine the causal relationship between resilience and retention.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number6097
    Number of pages13
    JournalRural and Remote Health
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2020


    • Indonesia
    • personal resilience
    • rural retention
    • general practitioner


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