Most Physician Spouses/Partners Are Happy

John Commins, March 29, 2013

Despite the portrayals of rocky home lives and marriages on the brink in TV soap operas and primetime dramas, an overwhelming majority of physicians' spouses and partners say they are happy with their relationships, Mayo Clinic research shows.

The study, "The Medical Marriage: A National Survey of the Spouses/Partners of US Physicians,"published this month in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, found that 85% of the 891 spouses or partners of physicians who responded said they were satisfied with their mate, and 80% said they'd pick a physician again if they had to revisit the choice.

Three-quarters of the physicians' spouses or partners who responded to the survey were female, and 40% of the respondents had a full-time job and worked at least 30 hours a week outside of the home, the survey shows.

"It gives us data that shatters some stereotypes," Tait Shanafelt, MD, lead author of the survey and a Mayo Clinic hematologist and oncologist, said in an interview.

"First, in a large proportion of relationships the physician is a woman. In the majority of the relationships, the partner has a career of his or her own and is working a substantial number of hours outside the home," he says. "It also shatters the stereotype that is promulgated on TV that physicians' personal relationships are always of poor quality and they are at risk of divorce. That doesn't bear out in the data."

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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