In recent years, the physician's professionalism seemed to be facing or experiencing a phase of change. To investigate this phenomenon, social perception and attitude toward physicians were surveyed and analyzed. The subjects consisted of three types of sample group, namely, the general public, physicians, and medical students. Data were collected through interviews, mailing, and self-administered questionnaire surveys to each sample, respectively. The results of analysis showed us that social evaluation of physicians in Korean society exhibited ambivalent perceptions toward physicians. The physician's occupational status was generally evaluated by the three samples as being in a higher stratum in the social structure. But there were great gaps between their perceptions of the change in the physician's occupational status. While the general public perceived that the physician's status might improve in the future, physicians and medical students predicted an absolute declination of the status. Although the general public sympathized with the physician's characteristics as a professional group, an apparent tendency to assume the attitude of a fairly equal relationship toward physicians has increased. The transitional change in the physician's professionalism could be observed through the ubiquity in the perception of the patient's rights in doctor-patient relationships. Such phenomena are believed to have caused physicians to think that not only has their status declined in recent years but also that this declination of social status would continue in the future.
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