[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 10, 1989

The Psychology of Postponement in the Medical Marriage

Author Affiliations

The Medical Center Inc Beaver, Pa

The Medical Center Inc Beaver, Pa

JAMA. 1989;262(18):2539. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430180077021

To the Editor. —  The article by Drs Gabbard and Menninger1 addressing the psychology of postponement and medical marriage was very helpful. One statement that they made, however, was extremely disturbing. In their assessment of the personality traits of physicians and how they can be disabling in marriages, they state that these "traits lead to rigid, emotionally flat, automatonlike styles of relating that are adaptive in medicine but maladaptive in one's personal relationships."How unfortunate it is that these authors perpetuate the idea that physicians need only be excellent technologists to be good and adaptive in medicine. This goes against much of what we are seeing in society today, with reaction against physicians because of their impersonal style of relating despite their being technically adept. The authors go on to say that "the language of feelings may be entirely alien, especially for the male physician." How can physicians, who