Academic Medicine Faculty Perceptions of Work-Life Balance Before and Since the COVID-19 Pandemic

Link to article at PubMed

JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Jun 1;4(6):e2113539. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.13539.


IMPORTANCE: How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected academic medicine faculty's work-life balance is unknown.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the association of perceived work-life conflict with academic medicine faculty intention to leave, reducing employment to part time, or declining leadership opportunities before and since the COVID-19 pandemic.

DESIGN, SETTINGS, AND PARTICIPANTS: An anonymous online survey of medical, graduate, and health professions school faculty was conducted at a single large, urban academic medical center between September 1 and September 25, 2020.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Self-assessed intention to leave, reducing employment to part time, or turning down leadership opportunities because of work-life conflict before and since the COVID-19 pandemic.

RESULTS: Of the 1186 of 3088 (38%) of faculty members who answered the survey, 649 (55%) were women and 682 (58%) were White individuals. Respondents were representative of the overall faculty demographic characteristics except for an overrepresentation of female faculty respondents and underrepresentation of Asian faculty respondents compared with all faculty (female faculty: 649 [55%] vs 1368 [44%]; Asian faculty: 259 [22%] vs 963 [31%]). After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty were more likely to consider leaving or reducing employment to part time compared with before the pandemic (leaving: 225 [23%] vs 133 [14%]; P < .001; reduce hours: 281 [29%] vs 206 [22%]; P < .001). Women were more likely than men to reduce employment to part time before the COVID-19 pandemic (153 [28%] vs 44 [12%]; P < .001) and to consider both leaving or reducing employment to part time since the COVID-19 pandemic (leaving: 154 [28%] vs 56 [15%]; P < .001; reduce employment: 215 [40%] vs 49 [13%]; P < .001). Faculty with children were more likely to consider leaving and reducing employment since the COVID-19 pandemic compared with before the pandemic (leaving: 159 [29%] vs 93 [17%]; P < .001; reduce employment: 213 [40%] vs 130 [24%]; P < .001). Women with children compared with women without children were also more likely to consider leaving since the COVID-19 pandemic than before (113 [35%] vs 39 [17%]; P < .001). Working parent faculty and women were more likely to decline leadership opportunities both before (faculty with children vs without children: 297 [32%] vs 84 [9%]; P < .001; women vs men: 206 [29%] vs 47 [13%]; P < .001) and since the COVID-19 pandemic (faculty with children vs faculty without children: 316 [34%] vs 93 [10 %]; P < .001; women vs men: 148 [28%] vs 51 [14%]; P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this survey study, the perceived stressors associated with work-life integration were higher in women than men, were highest in women with children, and have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The association of both gender and parenting with increased perceived work-life stress may disproportionately decrease the long-term retention and promotion of junior and midcareer women faculty.

PMID:34129021 | DOI:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.13539

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