The Physician: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise?

Carol Peckham


January 23, 2014

In This Article

Other Comparisons of Physician Lifestyle Factors

Do Physicians Volunteer?

More men (28%) than women (25%) say they never volunteer, which is a decrease from Medscape's 2012 survey, where about a third of both male and female physicians said they didn't volunteer. Intensivists, at 37%, are the least likely to volunteer and dermatologists, at 80%, are the most likely (Figure 5). In last year's lifestyle report, which focused on burnout, intensivists were among the few to cite "compassion fatigue" as one of their top 3 reasons for burnout, which might be a discouraging factor for volunteering outside of work. Also of interest, intensivists are the least happy physicians at home while dermatologists are second from the top of that list (and also the happiest specialists at work). Although it's not proof of any correlation, in a 2000 survey published in the Archives of Family Medicine, physicians who viewed benevolence as a guiding principle in their lives reported a higher level of professional satisfaction.[37]

Figure 5.

Physicians Who Never Volunteer

Are Physicians Religious?

In a national Pew Research survey of all Americans, only 16% were unaffiliated with any particular faith, with half of this group saying that religion is still important or somewhat important to them. Also in the Pew survey, nearly 20% of men had no formal religious affiliation, compared with about 13% of women.[38] In the Medscape survey, men and women almost equally claimed to be spiritual or religious (75% and 77%, respectively). Of this group, men are more likely to attend services (60%) than women (44%). Of all specialists, about two thirds (66%) of pediatricians were the most active practitioners of their faith, followed by family physicians (65%). Those least likely to attend services were emergency medicine physicians (53%) and radiologists and plastic surgeons (both 52%) (Figure 6).

Figure 6.

Religious/Spiritual Practicing Physicians

Where Do Physicians Lean on the Political Spectrum?

Male and female physicians show different political leanings, and their responses have changed since the 2012 Medscape Survey. This year, 62% of women and 56% of men claimed to be socially liberal compared with 67% of women and 59% of men in 2012. In the current survey, 58% of women and 71% of men say they are fiscal conservatives compared with 69% of women and 77% of men 2 years ago -- a considerable decrease, particularly among women. Among specialists, 81% of orthopedists say they are fiscally conservative and only half claim to be social liberals, making them the most conservative specialty (Figure 7). Of interest, family physicians, at 52%, are the second least socially liberal specialist group.

Figure 7.

Physicians' Political Leanings


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