BMC Medical Ethics 23 (1):1-10 (2022)

Hanhui Xu
Queen's University, Belfast
BackgroundThe acceptance of informal payments by doctors is usually viewed as unethical behavior. However, in China, such behavior is a common practice. In this study, we focus on the gender differences in accepting red packets by young doctors in China.MethodsA total of 413 young doctors were selected for the study, all of whom were grouped by gender. The questionnaire was designed to include general demographic characteristics, whether they had ever been offered red packets, whether they had ever accepted red packets, the reasons for accepting red packets and so on. Wilcoxon rank-sum test, Pearson’s chi-squared test, univariable and multi-variable logistic regressions were used for all analyses by Stata 17.0 SE and p-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.ResultsCompared to women, men were more likely to be offered red packets, and the odds ratio was statistically significant after adjusting for age, education, position and geographical areas. In terms of the question of whether or not they had accepted red packets, more male doctors answered “yes” compared to female doctors. However, among those who had accepted red packets, we found that only 42.0% [25/60] of male doctors considered that it was normal to accept such red packets, compared to 85.0% [11/13] of women.ConclusionThe study revealed that Chinese patients and their families were more likely to offer red packets to male doctors. Secondly, among doctors who had been offered red packets, male doctors were more likely to accept red packets than female doctors. In addition, among doctors who had accepted red packets, female doctors were more likely to believe that it was not morally wrong to accept such red packets.
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DOI 10.1186/s12910-022-00781-0
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