Striving for work-life balance: effect of marriage and children on the experience of 4402 US general surgery residents.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVE: To determine how marital status and having children impact US general surgical residents' attitudes toward training and personal life. BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of research describing how family and children affect the experience of general surgery residents. METHODS: Cross-sectional survey involving all US categorical general surgery residents. Responses were evaluated by resident/program characteristics. Statistical analysis included the χ test and hierarchical logistic regression modeling. RESULTS: A total of 4402 residents were included (82.4% response rate) and categorized as married, single, or other (separated/divorced/widowed). Men were more likely to be married (57.8% vs 37.9%, P < 0.001) and have children (31.5% vs 12.0%, P < 0.001). Married residents were most likely to look forward to work (P < 0.001), and report happiness at work (P < 0.001) and a good program fit (P < 0.001). "Other" residents most frequently felt that work hours caused strain on family life (P < 0.001). Residents with children more frequently looked forward to work (P = 0.001), were happy at work (P = 0.001), and reported a good program fit (P = 0.034), but had strain on family life (P < 0.001), and worried about future finances (P = 0.005). On hierarchical logistic regression modeling, having children was predictive of a resident looking forward to work [odds ratio (OR): 1.22, P = 0.035], yet feeling that work caused family strain (OR: 1.66, P < 0.001); being single was associated with less strain (OR: 0.72, P < 0.001). The female gender was negatively associated with looking forward to work (OR: 0.81, P = 0.007). CONCLUSIONS: Residents who were married or parents reported greater satisfaction and work-life conflict. The complex effects of family on surgical residents should inform programs to target support mechanisms for their trainees.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Sullivan, MC; Yeo, H; Roman, SA; Bell, RH; Sosa, JA

Published Date

  • March 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 257 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 571 - 576

PubMed ID

  • 22964726

Pubmed Central ID

  • 22964726

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1528-1140

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0003-4932

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/sla.0b013e318269d05c


  • eng