Disparities in Burnout and Satisfaction With Work-Life Integration in U.S. Physicians by Gender and Practice Setting

Acad Med. 2020 Sep;95(9):1435-1443. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003521.


Purpose: To explore the interaction between practice setting (academic practice [AP], private practice [PP]) and gender in relation to physician burnout and satisfaction with work-life integration (WLI).

Method: In 2017, the authors administered a cross-sectional survey of U.S. physicians and characterized rates of burnout and satisfaction with WLI using previously validated and/or standardized tools. They conducted multivariable logistic regression to determine the interaction between the included variables.

Results: Of the 3,603 participants in the final analysis, female physicians reported a higher prevalence of burnout than male physicians in both AP (50.7% vs 38.2%, P < .0001) and PP (48.1% vs 40.7%, P = .001). However, the multivariable analysis found no statistically significant gender-based differences in burnout (odds ratio [OR] 0.94, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.76-1.17, P = .60). Women and men in AP were less likely to report burnout than men in PP (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.52-0.94, P = .01 and OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.53-0.90, P < .01, respectively); women in PP did not report different burnout rates from men in PP (OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.68-1.16, P = .38). Women in both AP and PP were less likely to be satisfied with WLI than men in PP (OR 0.62, 95% CI 0.47-0.83, P < .01 and OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.58-0.97, P = .03, respectively); men in AP did not report different satisfaction with WLI than men in PP (OR 1.05, 95% CI 0.82-1.33, P = .71).

Conclusions: Gender differences in rates of burnout are related to practice setting and other differences in physicians' personal and professional lives. These results highlight the complex relationships among gender, practice setting, and other personal and professional factors in their influence on burnout and satisfaction with WLI.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Professional Practice
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Work-Life Balance*