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February 2004

Gender and Parenting Significantly Affect Work Hours of Recent Dermatology Program Graduates

Author Affiliations

From the Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif. The authors have no relevant financial interest in this article.

Arch Dermatol. 2004;140(2):191-196. doi:10.1001/archderm.140.2.191

Background  The increased proportion of female physicians over the last 30 years may have important implications for future physician workforce needs.

Objective  To assess the roles of gender, marital status, and parenting in employment choices.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Anonymous surveys were distributed to recent dermatology residency graduates taking a board examination review course from 1999 through 2002.

Main Outcome Measures  The number of hours respondents saw patients per week and the number of hours they spent in each field of dermatology per week.

Results  There were 191 respondents to the survey in 2002, which represented 54% of the 2002 residency graduates. For clarity, this article focuses on the 2002 results except where trends over time become apparent. Of the respondents, 57% were women and 43% were men. Women saw patients a mean of 26 hours per week while men saw patients a mean of 31 hours (P = .01), although women spent more time practicing medical dermatology. Marital status did not significantly affect the number of work hours. Men and women who were not parents worked almost the same number of hours per week, but male parents saw patients a greater number of hours than female parents (34 vs 24; P<.01). Men who were parents spent more hours per week seeing patients than men who were not. In contrast, women who were parents spent fewer hours seeing patients than women who were not.

Conclusion  Parenting, in combination with gender, greatly influences workforce choices for professionals with young families while gender alone has little impact on those choices.