Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 155–161 | Cite as

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

  • Liselotte N. DyrbyeEmail author
  • Wayne Sotile
  • Sonja Boone
  • Colin P. West
  • Litjen Tan
  • Daniel Satele
  • Jeff Sloan
  • Mick Oreskovich
  • Tait Shanafelt
Original Research



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.


physician spouses work–home conflict burnout quality of life career satisfaction 



Funding for this study was provided by the American Medical Association and the Mayo Clinic Department of Medicine Program on Physician Well-being.

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Wayne Sotile receives royalties from AMA Press for books “The Medical Marriage” and “The Resilient Physician”, and honoraria for speaking engagements to medical conferences, regarding burnout, resilience and work/life issues. All other authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liselotte N. Dyrbye
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wayne Sotile
    • 2
  • Sonja Boone
    • 3
  • Colin P. West
    • 1
  • Litjen Tan
    • 4
  • Daniel Satele
    • 1
  • Jeff Sloan
    • 1
  • Mick Oreskovich
    • 5
  • Tait Shanafelt
    • 1
  1. 1.Mayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Tulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.University of Illinois Hospital and Health System, Chicago Campus, Community Based PracticeChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Immunization Action CoalitionSt. PaulUSA
  5. 5.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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