Work week duration, work-family balance and difficulties encountered by female and male physicians: results from the French SESMAT study

Work. 2011:40 Suppl 1:S83-100. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2011-1270.


Objective: France encounters difficulties attracting physicians to work in hospitals. Organisation at work and at home may be at the heart of the problem for female as well as for male physicians.

Participants: A comprehensive questionnaire was filled out online by a representative sample of 1924 French hospital physicians.

Methods: We conducted gender bivariate and multivariate analysis of the risk factors for burnout and intent to leave the profession(ITL).

Results: ITL was declared by 17.4% of physicians. According to 41.3% of female physicians (FP), their profession was an obstacle to having children (versus 19.3% for male physicians (MP)). Major factors linked with burnout were Effort/Reward imbalance (FP adjOR = 5.09, MP adjOR = 5.93), Work-family conflicts (FP adjOR = 2.97, MP adjOR = 3.04), and Low quality of teamwork (FP adjOR = 1.82, MP adjOR = 2.68). Major factors linked with ITL were Low quality of teamwork (FP adjOR = 4.49, MP adjOR = 3.03), Patient-related burnout (FP adjOR = 2.10, MP adjOR = 2.35) and General burnout (FP adjOR = 1.85, MP adjOR = 1.45).

Conclusions: Excessive job demands are linked with burnout and with work-family conflicts, conducting to difficulties in organising one's life in order to have and raise children. Potential solutions include facilitating teamwork in order to reduce departure, which increase workload on those who stay increasing their work family conflict.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Family*
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data
  • Physicians, Women / psychology*
  • Physicians, Women / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Work Schedule Tolerance*
  • Work*