Female physician-researchers do not achieve career success at the same rate as men. Differences in nonprofessional responsibilities may partially explain this gap.
To investigate the division of domestic labor by gender in a motivated group of early-career physician-researchers.
Nationwide postal survey between 2010 and 2011.
Physician recipients of National Institutes of Health K08 or K23 awards between 2006 and 2009 with active academic affiliation at the time of the survey.
Time spent on parenting and domestic tasks was determined through self-report. Among married or partnered respondents with children, a linear regression model of time spent on domestic activities was constructed considering age, gender, race, specialty, MD or MD/PhD status, age of youngest child, number of children, work hours, K award type, and spousal employment.
A 74% response rate was achieved, and 1049 respondents were academic physicians. Women were more likely than men to have spouses or domestic partners who were employed full-time (85.6% [95% CI, 82.7% to 89.2%] vs. 44.9% [CI, 40.8% to 49.8%]). Among married or partnered respondents with children, after adjustment for work hours, spousal employment, and other factors, women spent 8.5 more hours per week on domestic activities. In the subgroup with spouses or domestic partners who were employed full-time, women were more likely to take time off during disruptions of usual child care arrangements than men (42.6% [CI, 36.6% to 49.0%] vs. 12.4% [CI, 5.4% to 19.5%]).
Analyses relied on self-reported data. The study design did not enable investigation of the relationship between domestic activities and professional success.
In this sample of career-oriented professionals, gender differences in domestic activities existed among those with children. Most men's spouses or domestic partners were not employed full-time, which contrasted sharply with the experiences of women.
Primary Funding Source:
National Institutes of Health.
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Author, Article, and Disclosure Information
From the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine and Center for Cancer Biostatistics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Fuqua School of Business and Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.
Acknowledgment: The authors thank the K award recipients who took the time to participate in this study.
Grant Support: Dr. Jagsi was supported by the NIH (grant 5 R01 HL101997-04). Dr. Ubel was supported by grants from the NIH and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.
Disclosures: Disclosures can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M13-0974.
Corresponding Author: Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, UHB2C490, SPC 5010, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5010; e-mail, rjagsi@med.
Current Author Addresses: Drs. Jolly and Jagsi: Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, UHB2C490, SPC 5010, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5010.
Mr. Griffith: Center for Cancer Biostatistics, M2180 SPHII, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029.
Ms. DeCastro: Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, North Campus Research Complex, 2800 Plymouth Road, Building 16, Room 430W, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800.
Dr. Stewart: Department of Psychology and Women's Studies Program, University of Michigan, 204 South State Street, G277B Lane Hall, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1290.
Dr. Ubel: Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, 100 Fuqua Drive, Box 90120, Durham, NC 27708.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: S. Jolly, K.A. Griffith, P. Ubel, R. Jagsi.
Analysis and interpretation of the data: S. Jolly, K.A. Griffith, A. Stewart, R. Jagsi.
Drafting of the article: S. Jolly, K.A. Griffith, R. Jagsi.
Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: S. Jolly, K.A. Griffith, R. DeCastro, P. Ubel, R. Jagsi.
Final approval of the article: S. Jolly, K.A. Griffith, A. Stewart, R. Jagsi.
Provision of study materials or patients: R. Jagsi.
Statistical expertise: K.A. Griffith.
Obtaining of funding: R. Jagsi.
Administrative, technical, or logistic support: R. DeCastro.
Collection and assembly of data: R. DeCastro, R. Jagsi.