The Impact of COVID-19 on Dual-Physician Couples: A Disproportionate Burden on Women Physicians

Andrea Soares, Prashanth Thakker, Elena Deych, Shikha Jain, Rakhee K. Bhayani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Currently, physicians face an unprecedented crisis with the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The impact of the pandemic on dual-physician households remains unknown. In this survey study, we examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on dual-physician families and described gendered differences related to the impact of the pandemic. Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey distributed via e-mail and social media, with results collected from April 30, 2020 until May 26, 2020. Respondents were members of a dual-physician couple. Respondents provided information on demographic characteristics and the impact of the pandemic on their professional lives, personal lives, and well-being. Categorical variables were compared using chi-squared or Fisher's exact test. Ordinal variables were compared between genders using Cochran-Armitage trend test. Feeling emotionally and physically drained compared to pre-pandemic was analyzed as a binary outcome in a multivariable logistic model. Results: Of the 1799 physicians who completed the survey, 52% were between 30 and 39 years old, 81% self-identified as women, and 62% were white. Women were more likely to report increased worry about their job security, finances, personal health, partner's health, and children's health (p = 0.02, p = 0.01, p < 0.001, p < 0.001, and p < 0.001, respectively). Seventy-eight percent of respondents reported feeling more drained during the pandemic. Multivariable analysis revealed that female gender (odds ratio [OR] 2.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.7-3.3, p < 0.001), and having children younger than 5 years of age (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.05-1.95, p = 0.02) were associated with an increased risk of feeling more drained. Conclusions: Women were more likely to report increased worry about job security, finances, and health and had an increased risk of feeling more drained during the pandemic. While the COVID-19 pandemic is a significant stress for all physicians, women in dual-physician families were disproportionately affected, demonstrating the need for increased support from hospital administrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-671
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Volume30
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • couples
  • dual-physician
  • physician
  • survey

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