Our comprehensive national survey explores the ways physicians live and think when they&re not at work.
Our comprehensive national survey explores the ways physicians live and think when they're not at work.
Volumes have been written about physicians' harried professional lives. But once outside the office or hospital, how do doctors spend their time? What do they love, hate, and fear? Are they content with the balance between their private and work lives? Is there such a thing as a "typical" physician?
To find out, we conducted a comprehensive survey of physicians' lifestyles. Earlier this year, we invited 10,000 randomly selected doctors to answer an admittedly intrusive questionnaire. More than 2,000 doctors from all major fields in every part of the country responded, providing intimate details about their personal likes and dislikes, including political and religious beliefs, family life, susceptibility to various vices, musical tastes, recreational preferences, and much more.
What emerges is a portrait of the modern American doctor that seems predictable in some ways, surprising in others. There were many similarities in physician attitudes and lifestyle choices compared with our last survey back in 1979, but also some dramatic differences.
Perhaps it's presumptuous to attempt to define the essence of more than 750,000 diverse individuals who make up the medical profession. However, certain themes and beliefs were fairly consistent and allow us to make reasonable conclusions about today's doctorwith some notable exceptions.
The "typical" physician is serious, responsible, and conservative in both his politics and lifestyle choices. That's hardly news. But he's much more inclined than physicians of previous generations to think that being a good parent and spouse is just as important as being a successful professional. Here's a snapshot of other things we found out:
Does any of this sound like you? Or are you among the more unorthodox doctors who say that New Age music is their favorite, or that the soap opera Days of Our Lives represents quality television?
Whether you're "typical" or not, we're sure you'll find plenty to identify with in our articles about what your colleagues think about marriage, parenting, politics, religion and charity, vice, guns, and leisure activities. The final result is a most revealing self-portrait of physicians' personal lives.
Mark Crane. A special issue on doctors' lifestyles. Medical Economics 2000;19:42.