[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Article
April 28, 1989

The Psychology of Postponement in the Medical Marriage

Author Affiliations

From the C. F. Menninger Memorial Hospital (Dr Gabbard) and The Menninger Foundation (Dr Menninger), Topeka, Kan.

From the C. F. Menninger Memorial Hospital (Dr Gabbard) and The Menninger Foundation (Dr Menninger), Topeka, Kan.

JAMA. 1989;261(16):2378-2381. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420160110032
Abstract

Many physicians' marriages are characterized by a strategy of postponement. The demands of medical training, the rigors of establishing a practice, and the expectations of colleagues are often used as excuses to avoid emotional intimacy in the marital relationship. Attention to the needs of the marriage is regularly postponed until some indefinite point in the future, resulting in considerable covert marital discord. The psychology of postponement ultimately proves to be a psychology of avoidance, growing directly out of the compulsive personality traits of most physicians and their preference for work over family life. Preventive measures are suggested to address the physician's tendency to avoid issues of marital intimacy.

(JAMA. 1989;261:2378-2381)

×