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Orv Hetil. 2009 Dec 13;150(50):2274-81. doi: 10.1556/OH.2009.28583.

[High prevalence of work-family conflict among female physicians: lack of social support as a potential antecedent].

[Article in Hungarian]

Author information

Semmelweis Egyetem, Altalános Orvostudományi Kar Magatartástudományi Intézet Budapest Nagyvárad tér 4. 1089.


According to stress theory, social support from work and non-work-related sources may influence the level of perceived work-family conflict. Despite the high prevalence of work-family conflict as a source of distress among female physicians, no information is available on the associations between work-family conflict and social support in a traditional, family-centric cultural setting, where female role expectations are demanding. The author hypothesized that high prevalence of work-family conflict could be attributed to the lack of social support among female physicians.


To investigate the prevalence and psychosocial characteristics of social support and its relations to work-family conflict among female physicians.


Quantitative and qualitative study using questionnaires ( n = 420) and in-depth interviews ( n = 123) among female and male physicians.


Female physicians reported significantly higher mean level and prevalence of work-family conflict compared to men. The predominant form of work-family was work-to-family conflict among physicians; however, significantly more female physicians experienced family-to-work conflict and strain-based work-family conflict compared to men (39% vs. 18% and 68% vs. 20%, respectively). Significantly more male physicians experienced time-based work-family conflict compared to women. Content analyses of interview data revealed that provision of support to physicians manifested itself in parental support in career selection, spousal support with household duties, peer support with enabling access to professional role models-mentors, peer support to ensure gender equity, and organizational support with family-centric policies. Female physicians reported significantly less parental, spousal, and peer support compared to men. Female physicians lacking parental, peer, or organizational support experienced significantly higher level of work-family conflict compared to appropriate control. In regression analyses, high job demands, job strain, high workload and number of children, younger age, and lack of support in the workplace predicted work-family conflict best (adjusted R 2 0.59).


Lack of social - particularly parental, peer, and organizational - support may play an important role in the pathogenesis of work-family conflict experienced by female physicians.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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