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Ann Surg. 2013 Mar;257(3):571-6. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e318269d05c.

Striving for work-life balance: effect of marriage and children on the experience of 4402 US general surgery residents.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine how marital status and having children impact US general surgical residents' attitudes toward training and personal life.

BACKGROUND:

There is a paucity of research describing how family and children affect the experience of general surgery residents.

METHODS:

Cross-sectional survey involving all US categorical general surgery residents. Responses were evaluated by resident/program characteristics. Statistical analysis included the χ test and hierarchical logistic regression modeling.

RESULTS:

A total of 4402 residents were included (82.4% response rate) and categorized as married, single, or other (separated/divorced/widowed). Men were more likely to be married (57.8% vs 37.9%, P < 0.001) and have children (31.5% vs 12.0%, P < 0.001). Married residents were most likely to look forward to work (P < 0.001), and report happiness at work (P < 0.001) and a good program fit (P < 0.001). "Other" residents most frequently felt that work hours caused strain on family life (P < 0.001). Residents with children more frequently looked forward to work (P = 0.001), were happy at work (P = 0.001), and reported a good program fit (P = 0.034), but had strain on family life (P < 0.001), and worried about future finances (P = 0.005). On hierarchical logistic regression modeling, having children was predictive of a resident looking forward to work [odds ratio (OR): 1.22, P = 0.035], yet feeling that work caused family strain (OR: 1.66, P < 0.001); being single was associated with less strain (OR: 0.72, P < 0.001). The female gender was negatively associated with looking forward to work (OR: 0.81, P = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS:

Residents who were married or parents reported greater satisfaction and work-life conflict. The complex effects of family on surgical residents should inform programs to target support mechanisms for their trainees.

PMID:
22964726
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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