Work-home balance in two cohorts of Norwegian doctors

Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2019 Jun 24;139(10). doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.18.0339. Print 2019 Jun 25.
[Article in Norwegian, English]


Background: Stress linked to the balance between work and home, so-called work-home interface stress, may affect the health and life situation of doctors. Reports have shown an increase in job-related stress among Norwegian doctors. We wished to investigate the development trends for this type of stress in the period 2003-14.

Material and method: Work-home interface stress was measured with the aid of three questions from a validated scale, on which the respondents reported their level of stress on a scale from 1 (no stress) to 5 (very high level of stress). The measurements were made 10 and 15 years after graduation in two cohorts of doctors who had received their training within six years of each other. We used the t-test and chi-square test to compare the cohorts and to compare gender within each cohort, and linear regression analysis to adjust for any confounding factors.

Results: Doctors who had graduated later (later cohort, n = 248) reported significantly lower levels of work-home interface stress than doctors who had completed their studies six years earlier (early cohort, n = 197) (average score (standard deviation) 2.2 (1.0) vs. 2.6 (1.0), p = 0.001). This correlation remained significant after adjusting for other explanatory variables, such as gender (woman), number of children, weekly working hours and collegial and partner support. Fifteen years after graduation there were no differences between the cohorts in terms of perceived work-home interface stress. Within the cohorts there were no significant gender differences at any point of measurement. After adjustment for partner support and working hours, being a woman gave a significantly increased risk of experiencing work-home interface stress.

Interpretation: Doctors who graduated later, experienced less work-home interface stress than those who had received their training earlier. The experience of stress was buffered in women who perceived their partner as supportive and had reduced working hours.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Norway
  • Occupational Stress
  • Parity
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support
  • Spouses
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work-Life Balance*
  • Workload