Practice Patterns of Young Physicians, 1987: [United States] (ICPSR 9277)

Published: Jan 11, 2012

Principal Investigator(s):
American Medical Association Education and Research Foundation

Version V3

This study investigated the factors that influenced the career decisions of young physicians and the characteristics of their practices. The collection has five datasets: Public-Use Version of the Young Physicians Survey (Dataset 1), Socioeconomic Monitoring System Study (Dataset 2), ZIP Code Data (Dataset 3), Verbatim Responses to the Open-Ended Questions (Dataset 4), and Restricted-Use Version of the Young Physicians Survey (Dataset 5).

The Public-Use Version of the Young Physicians Survey comprises responses from the Young Physicians Survey (YPS), plus merged data from the American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile and the Association of American Medical Colleges' Student and Applicant Information Management System (SAIMS) database. The YPS interviewed physicians below 40 years of age who recently completed graduate medical training and were in their early years of practice. These physicians were queried about their graduate medical training, perceptions of the medical profession, current practice arrangements, career decisions, family background, patient care activities, and current income and expenses. To obtain information on current practice arrangements, respondents were questioned about the practices they worked in, including who owned the practices, the number of physicians in each practice, specialties or subspecialties practiced, usual fees for selected services, percentages of revenues from HMOs, PPOs, and IPAs, and percentages of patients who were Medicare patients, had no health insurance coverage, or were poor, Black, Hispanic, severely physically disabled, or chronically mentally ill. Questions on career decisions asked respondents about factors that influenced their career choices, such as reasons for working in multiple practices, reasons for leaving past practices, and reasons for deciding in favor of or against self-employment. Information on family background elicited by the survey includes the respondent's race, marital status, and educational debt, parents' income class and education, number of children living in the respondent's home, and whether the respondent's spouse or parents were physicians. Questions on patient care activities included questions on the number of hours spent providing uncompensated health care to the poor, and the number of hours spent with patients in a variety of settings, such as the office, emergency rooms, hospital outpatient clinics, and operating rooms. Information from the AMA Masterfile and the SAIMS database includes board certification status, AMA membership, school and year of graduation, Medical College Admission Test scores, primary undergraduate institution, most recent grade point averages, place of birth, number of acceptances to United States medical schools, parents' occupations, preferred medical specialty, and preferred practice setting.

Dataset 2 comprises responses from the AMA's Socioeconomic Monitoring System (SMS), a semiannual survey of nonfederal physicians that collected data on topics similar to those in the YPS, such as practice ownership, hours spent seeing patients in various settings, income, expenses, and opinions on practice procedures. The SMS data can be used for comparative analyses of young, prime, and senior physicians.

The ZIP Code Data contain estimates for the composition of the population residing in the ZIP code areas of the YPS respondents' main practices. This includes estimates of the size of each ZIP code area population, as well as its components with respect to gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, and income. Also included are estimates of the number of physicians and their composition with respect to age, sex, practice type, and specialty.

Dataset 4 contains verbatim responses to open-ended questions asked in the YPS.

The Restricted-Use Version of the Young Physicians Survey is the same as the Public-Use Version of the Young Physicians Survey, except for some variables that were restricted from general dissemination for reasons of confidentiality. The restricted-use version includes the restricted variables, but the public-use version does not.

American Medical Association Education and Research Foundation. Practice Patterns of Young Physicians, 1987: [United States]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2012-01-11.

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (11234)

The ZIP Code Data (Dataset 3), Verbatim Responses to Open-Ended Questions (Dataset 4), and the Restricted-Use Version of the Young Physicians Survey (Dataset 5) are restricted from general dissemination for reasons of confidentiality. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete an Agreement for the Use of Confidential Data, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research. Apply for access to these data through the ICPSR restricted data contract portal, which can be accessed via the study home page

1987-04-09 -- 1987-11-21

1987-04-09 -- 1987-11-21

Datasets 3 and 4 can be merged with the Public- and Restricted-Use Versions of the Young Physicians Survey.

Datsets 1, 2, and 5 share the same codebook. In this codebook, Datasets 1 and 5 are referred to as Part 1 and Dataset 2 is referrred to as Part 2.

Both the YPS and SMS used the AMA Physician Masterfile as their sampling frame.

YPS: Simple random sample. Blacks and Hispanics were oversampled.

SMS: Stratified random sample with strata defined by medical specialty and geographic region.

YPS: Physicians under 40 in their second through sixth year of practice.

SMS: Nonfederal patient care physicians, except resident physicians.

personal interviews and administrative records

survey data



2012-01-11 The Restricted-Use Version of the Young Physicians Survey (Dataset 5) is now available.

1998-06-12 Part 3, ZIP Code Data, and Part 4, Verbatim Responses to Open-Ended Questions, have been added to the collection, along with PDF codebooks. These data files are restricted from general dissemination, and users interested in obtaining them should contact User Support at ICPSR. Also, the codebook for Parts 1 and 2 is now available as a PDF file.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

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This study is maintained and distributed by the Health and Medical Care Archive (HMCA). HMCA is the official data archive of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.