Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1148–1158 | Cite as

“It’s Every Family’s Dream”: Choice of a Medical Career Among the Arab Minority in Israel

  • Ariela Popper-Giveon
  • Yael Keshet
Original Paper


Application to medical studies and the choice of medicine as a career are influenced by many factors, some internal (academic ability, intellectual curiosity, interests) and some external (parental pressure, peer pressure, teacher and school expectations). Ethnicity plays a role in motivational orientation and belonging to an ethnic minority group may influence both internal and external motives and priorities in choosing medicine as a career. In this article, we present a qualitative study of the motives that impel Arab physicians in Israel to choose a medical career. As a theoretical framework, we apply self-determination theory (SDT) (Ryan and Deci in Am Psychol 55:68–78, 2000), consisting of three principal categories situated along a continuum: Amotivation, extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. We show that extrinsic motivation is dominant among Arab physicians in Israel, demonstrating specifically the unique political context and cultural characteristics of Arab society in Israel. These findings, and the attention to the unique motivations of people from different ethnic minority groups who choose medical career, may increase the number of physicians from minority groups, a step known to decrease health gaps in multi-cultural contexts.


Arabs Israel Medical education Physicians Motivation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no financial relationship with the organization that sponsored the research. The authors have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review their data if requested.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.David Yellin Academic CollegeJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Sociology and Anthropology DepartmentWestern Galilee Academic CollegeAkkoIsrael

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