Physicians must balance career and home responsibilities, yet previous studies on work-life balance are focused primarily on work-based tasks. We examined gender discrepancies and factors related to household responsibilities and work-life balance among pediatricians.
We used 2015 data from the American Academy of Pediatrics Pediatrician Life and Career Experience Study, a longitudinal study of early-career pediatricians. 2 tests and multivariable logistic regression were used to examine the effects of gender on household responsibilities, satisfaction, and work-life balance attainment. We formally reviewed responses from 2 open-ended questions on work-life balance challenges and strategies for common themes.
Seventy-two percent of participants completed the survey (1293 of 1801). Women were more likely than men to report having primary responsibility for 13 of 16 household responsibilities, such as cleaning, cooking, and routine care of children (all P < .001). All gender differences except budget management remained significant when controlling for part-time work status and spouse or partner work status (P < .05). Women were less satisfied with their share of responsibilities relative to others (52% vs 62%; P < .001), and few women and men report being very successful at achieving balance between their job and other life areas (15% vs 19%, respectively; P = .05). Open-ended responses (n = 1145) revealed many barriers to achieving work-life balance. Strategies to increase work-life balance included reducing work hours, outsourcing household-related work, and adjustments to personal responsibilities and relationships.
Female pediatricians spend more time on household responsibilities than male pediatricians, and gender is a key factor associated with work-life balance satisfaction.