Webber SA, Byrne BJ, Starmer AJ, Somberg CA, Frintner MP

Presented at the 2021 Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting

Background: Careers in medicine can be intense and demanding, beginning with several years of training. As a result, pediatricians may make sacrifices in their personal lives for their career.

Objective: Examine the relationship between sacrifices early career pediatricians (ECP) report making for their career and the relationship to gender, marital/partnered (“partnered”) status, and parenthood.

Methods: National data from a 2019 survey of ECPs who recently graduated residency (2016-18), as part of the AAP Pediatrician Life and Career Experience Study. Chi-square tests analyzed gender, partnered, and parenthood differences in a) personal sacrifices (a lot vs some or no sacrifices) made for one’s career and b) agreement that their career was worth the sacrifices made to become a physician (strongly agree/agree vs disagree/strongly disagree).

Results: Of 918 ECPs in the cohort, 90% responded to this survey. 75% identified as women, 77% married/partnered (“partnered”), and 43% had children. Mean age=33 years, and 33% were in fellowship training.

Forty-one percent reported making “a lot” of sacrifices in their personal life for their career, with no variation by gender or parenthood (Table). Pediatricians who were partnered were less likely than those without partners to report a lot of sacrifices (39% vs 48% p<0.05). Among those without partners, women were more likely than men to report making sacrifices for their career as it pertained to finding a spouse, partner or significant other, (60% vs 41% p<0.05).

Among respondents without children, women were more likely than men to report their sacrifices impacted their decision in whether or not to have children (30% vs 16%, p<0.01). Among respondents with children, 59% delayed starting a family because of training or job responsibilities, with women significantly more likely than men to delay parenthood (67% vs 38%, p<0.001).

The majority (77%) agreed or strongly agreed their career was worth the sacrifices made, with women less likely to agree compared to men (74% vs 86%, p<0.001) and no significant difference by parenthood or partnered status (Table).

Conclusion: Most ECPs believe their sacrifices to become a pediatrician were worth it. Women reported greater challenges in several areas. Women ECPs were more likely to delay finding a spouse and having children due to career or training responsibilities, and less likely to perceive their career as worth the sacrifices made.


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American Academy of Pediatrics