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

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

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.

METHODS

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.

RESULTS

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).

CONCLUSIONS

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.

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Acknowledgements

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.

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Correspondence to Liselotte N. Dyrbye MD, MHPE.

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Dyrbye, L.N., Sotile, W., Boone, S. et al. A Survey of U.S. Physicians and Their Partners Regarding the Impact of Work–Home Conflict. J GEN INTERN MED 29, 155–161 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-013-2581-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-013-2581-3

KEY WORDS

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