Profiles in Happiness: Which Physicians Enjoy Life Most?

Carol Peckham


March 22, 2012

In This Article

Are Physicians Happily Married?

Among physicians who responded to this survey, over 85% of men and 71% of women are married, a rate far above that of the general US population. In fact, the current US Census found a drop in the percentage of married Americans over the past 40 years, from 72% in 1970 to just 48% in 2011.[10] This parallels a recent Pew Research report[11] finding that only 51% of US adults are currently in a marital relationship. The report also found that the current marriage rate for people under 30 was only 20%. In the Medscape survey, nearly half of physician respondents in that same age group reported being married.

When looking at marital status and happiness, the highest self-rated happiness scores went to both men and women who were in their first marriage. In any case, living with a partner boosted happiness in general over living alone. One minor exception: The happiness scores for female physicians who were widowed were slightly higher than those for women who were single and living with a partner. In fact, among both men and women without partners, being a widow or widower was not as unhappy a state as being divorced, and everyone was better off emotionally, it seemed, than those in the difficult state of separation.

Over 30% of married physicians who responded met either in medical school or as colleagues. Of interest in this regard, a 1999 study reported that although men and women in dual-doctor families differed from other physicians in many aspects of their professional and family lives, they achieved their career and family goals as frequently.[12]


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