Objective: To examine the gender differences in practice patterns, experiences, and career opportunities for family physicians who practice sports medicine.
Design: Descriptive, self-administered questionnaire.
Participants: Family physicians with Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) in sports medicine were surveyed. The survey was sent to all women with a CAQ in Sports Medicine and a random sample of 20% of the men with CAQs in sports medicine.
Main outcome measure: Survey consisted of multiple choice, Likert scale, and opened-ended questions. The data was analyzed with contingency tables, with gender as the dependent variable.
Results: Response rate to the survey was 75%, which included 42 females and 102 males. Demographics of our population demonstrated some gender differences. Males were of higher average age (41.1 vs. 38.1), and more likely to be married and have children. Practice types, location, and time spent in sports medicine did not differ with the exception of training room and event coverage. Males were more likely to cover all levels of training room except at the Division I level, where the percent of males and females covering training rooms were equal. Males were also more likely to cover all types of sporting events. Job satisfaction and reasons for choosing current jobs did not show significant gender differences. However, factors affecting career opportunities did vary. Professional relationships with athletic trainers and coaches were perceived to be different by males and females surveyed.
Conclusions: Our survey of sports medicine physicians showed some gender differences in practice patterns relative to training room and sporting event coverage. Surprisingly, there were not many differences in the factors that affected job choice and factors affecting job opportunities with the exception of gender itself. However, our study does not conclude how or when gender begins to affect the female sports medicine physician's career opportunities.