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This paper emerged from the authors’ interest in why humanitarian health workers initially engage and remain in humanitarian work, often in the face of threats to safety and personal well-being. Semi-structured qualitative interviews assessed the consciously available reasons why individuals engaged in humanitarian health work. Interview data was unpacked through a thematic analysis. Using self-determination theory as a guiding framework, data suggested introjected and identified motivations are applicable to this occupational domain. Introjected motivation is implicated in initial reasons to engage the work, while identified motivation is implicated in reasons to continue. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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