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Studies: Childcare Concerns Driving Burnout in Female Physicians

Nov 17, 2021, 10:30 AM by MSDC Staff
Two new studies confirm that childcare responsibilities during the pandemic have driven burnout among physicians, especially women physicians.


The past two years have been particularly stressful on child caregivers, as everyone recognizes. Throw in a medical career and that stress skyrockets. Now there's new research to back-up this common-sense hypothesis.

Two new studies show that childcare responsibilities for female physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic drive more burnout in their careers. This goes beyond burnout - depression and anxiety are seen at higher levels in female physician caregivers.

The first study comes from the JAMA Open Network. Titled, "Experiences of Work-Family Conflict and Mental Health Symptoms by Gender Among Physician Parents During the COVID-19 Pandemic," physicians from the University of Michigan used a three-question survey to examine how the pandemic impacted their childcare. Participants also completed a Work and Family Conflict Scale and PHQ-9. Among those surveyed, women were significantly more likely to lose childcare during the pandemic compared to men (84% versus 66%). The gulf in responsibility for childcare responsibilities was greater if both parents were physicians. See the entire study here.

The second study is from the Journal of General Internal Medicine. This survey involved over 3,000 clinicians surveyed between June 2020 and August 2020. The overwhelming majority of respondents (88%) were physicians. Again, women physicians were more likely to report feeling burned out (39%) and decreased wellbeing (51%) than men (28% and 43%). Among respondents with children, 95% reported burnout and not surprisingly, women were more likely than men to report childcare responsibilities. See the study here.