Disparity in Hours Worked Among Dual-Physician Couples with Kids

Findings from a national sample of dual-physician couples
Findings from a national sample of dual-physician couples

(HealthDay News) — For women, but not men, in dual-physician couples, weekly hours worked are lower for those with versus those without children, according to a research letter published online Aug. 21 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Dan P. Ly, M.D., M.P.P., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues estimated weekly hours worked for married, dual-physician couples using the American Community Survey. Individuals whose self-reported occupation and that of their spouse were both physician or surgeon were included. Analyses were limited to physicians aged 25 to 50 years. The sample included 9,868 physicians (4,934 men and 4,934 women in dual-physician couples).

The researchers found that the adjusted weekly hours worked were 57.0 for men and 52.4 for women. There was no statistically significant difference in adjusted hours worked among men whose youngest child was age 1 to 2 years (55.3 hours), but women worked significantly fewer hours (41.5 hours). There was no significant difference in hours worked as age of youngest child increased among men, compared with men without children. Among women, as age of youngest child increased, the number of hours worked remained statistically lower compared to that seen in women without children. Older physician age correlated with fewer hours worked.

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"In a national sample of dual-physician couples, weekly hours worked by women with children were lower than among women without children, whereas similar differences were not observed among men," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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