Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 155–161

A Survey of U.S. Physicians and Their Partners Regarding the Impact of Work–Home Conflict


    • Mayo Clinic
  • Wayne Sotile
    • Tulane University School of Medicine
  • Sonja Boone
    • University of Illinois Hospital and Health System, Chicago Campus, Community Based Practice
  • Colin P. West
    • Mayo Clinic
  • Litjen Tan
    • Immunization Action Coalition
  • Daniel Satele
    • Mayo Clinic
  • Jeff Sloan
    • Mayo Clinic
  • Mick Oreskovich
    • University of Washington
  • Tait Shanafelt
    • Mayo Clinic
Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-013-2581-3

Cite this article as:
Dyrbye, L.N., Sotile, W., Boone, S. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2014) 29: 155. doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2581-3



Work–home conflicts (WHC) threaten work–life balance among physicians, especially those in dual career relationships. In this study, we analyzed factors associated with WHC for physicians and their employed partners.


We surveyed 89,831 physicians from all specialty disciplines listed in the Physician Masterfile. Of the 7,288 (27.7 %) physicians who completed the survey, 1,644 provided the e-mail contact information of their partner. We surveyed these partners and 891 (54 %) responded. Burnout, quality of life (QOL), and depression were measured using validated instruments in both surveys. Satisfaction with career, work–life balance, and personal relationships, as well as experience of WHC were also evaluated.


WHC within the previous 3 weeks were commonly experienced by physicians and their employed partners (44.3 % and 55.7 %, respectively). On multivariate analysis, greater work hours for physicians and their employed partners were independently associated with WHC (OR 1.31 and 1.23 for each additional 10 h, respectively, both p < 0.0001). Physicians and partners who had experienced a recent WHC were more likely to have symptoms of burnout (47.1 % vs. 26.6 % for physicians with and without WHC; 42.4 % vs. 23.8 % for partners with and without WHC, both p < 0.0001).


WHC are commonly experienced by physicians and their employed partners. These conflicts may be a major contributor to personal distress for physicians and their partners.


physicianspouseswork–home conflictburnoutquality of lifecareer satisfaction

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2013