Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 343–351 | Cite as

Personal factors affecting ethical performance in healthcare workers during disasters and mass casualty incidents in Iran: a qualitative study

  • Mehrzad Kiani
  • Mohsen Fadavi
  • Hamidreza Khankeh
  • Fariba Borhani
Scientifc Contribution


In emergencies and disasters, ethics are affected by both personal and organizational factors. Given the lack of organizational ethical guidelines in the disaster management system in Iran, the present study was conducted to explain the personal factors affecting ethics and ethical behaviors among disaster healthcare workers. The present qualitative inquiry was conducted using conventional content analysis to analyze the data collected from 21 in-depth unstructured interviews with healthcare workers with an experience of attending one or more fields of disaster. According to the data collected, personal factors can be classified into five major categories, including personal characteristics such as age and gender, personal values, threshold of tolerance, personal knowledge and reflective thinking. Without ethical guidelines, healthcare workers are intensely affected by the emotional climate of the event and guided by their beliefs. A combination of personal characteristics, competences and expertise thus form the basis of ethical conduct in disaster healthcare workers.


Disasters Mass casualty incidents Ethical performance Healthcare workers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mehrzad Kiani
    • 1
  • Mohsen Fadavi
    • 1
  • Hamidreza Khankeh
    • 2
  • Fariba Borhani
    • 1
  1. 1.Shahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation SciencesTehranIran

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