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September 1, 1989

Doctors' Marriages: A Look at the Problems and Their Solutions

Author Affiliations

University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas at Austin

JAMA. 1989;262(9):1250-1251. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430090114052

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Medical Marriages, edited by Glen O. Gabbard and Roy W. Menninger, 181 pp, $28.95, Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Press Inc, 1988.

The traditional "doctor's marriage" in which the wife uncomplainingly takes on all the tasks of home and family so that the (white, male) physician can go to any length to pursue his career is almost a cultural archetype, one as relevant to contemporary family life as "Leave It to Beaver." The structure of American marriage has changed rapidly in the past 20 years, almost as rapidly as the composition of the medical profession.

More than 30% of young physicians and physicians in training are women, a substantial proportion are from racial or ethnic minorities, and an uncounted number are gay or lesbian. In their marriages and other relationships, all physicians must reconcile the competing values, expectations, and demands of medicine with those of their upbringing and social group. Relatively