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Doctors' Spouses, Partners Say They're Satisfied

THURSDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Most spouses or partners of doctors in the United States are happy with their relationships, according to a new study.

Mayo Clinic researchers conducted a national survey of about 900 spouses or partners of doctors and found that 85 percent said they were satisfied in their relationship. And 80 percent said they would choose a physician spouse or partner again if they could make their choice over.

These rates are similar to those of married adults in the United States overall, the researchers noted.

Among the spouses or partners of doctors, one-fourth are men. Of all study participants, most have jobs outside the home. Of those with jobs, most work 30 hours or more a week and nearly 40 percent work full-time, according to the study, which was published in the March issue of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Survey respondents' satisfaction was strongly related to the amount of non-sleeping time spent with their physician spouses or partners each day.

On a less-positive note, participants reported that the medical member of the couple frequently came home irritable, too tired to engage in home activities or preoccupied with work.

It's often believed that doctors' personal relationships suffer due to the demanding and consuming nature of their work. But there is little evidence in these survey results to suggest that doctors have lower-quality relationships or are more likely to get divorced, said study first author Dr. Tait Shanafelt.

"The findings challenge a number of stereotypes about physician relationships," Shanafelt said in a Mayo Clinic news release. "While every relationship has challenges, our research shows that on the whole doctors' spouses and partners are extremely happy in their relationships."

More information

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy offers advice about marriage preparation.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, March 28, 2013

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