Mayo Clinic Proceedings Home

Sex Differences in Time Spent on Household Activities and Care of Children Among US Physicians, 2003-2016


      Limited data exist on differences in time spent on household activities and child care between male and female physicians, which may influence sex differences in hours worked professionally. We studied sex differences among married physicians in time spent on household activities (eg, cleaning and cooking) and child care (eg, bathing and homework) from 2003 through 2016 using the American Time Use Survey, a detailed time use survey administered by the US Census. Overall, we found that female physicians with children spent 100.2 minutes (95% CI, 67.0-133.3 minutes) more per day on household activities and child care than did male physicians, a finding that was qualitatively similar after adjustment for work hours outside the home of both spouses. These patterns may reflect societal norms that ultimately influence physician sex differences in hours worked professionally.

      Abbreviation and Acronym:

      ATUS (American Time Use Survey)
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Mayo Clinic Proceedings
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Jolly S.
        • Griffith K.A.
        • DeCastro R.
        • et al.
        Gender differences in time spent on parenting and domestic responsibilities by high-achieving young physician-researchers.
        Ann Intern Med. 2014; 160: 344-353
      1. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. Variables.
        • Bureau of Labor Statistics
        American Time Use Survey User's Guide: Understanding ATUS 2003 to 2016.
        Date accessed: February 15, 2018
        • Ray K.N.
        • Chari A.V.
        • Engberg J.
        • Bertolet M.
        • Mehrotra A.
        Opportunity costs of ambulatory medical care in the United States.
        Am J Manag Care. 2015; 21: 567-574
        • Chari A.V.
        • Engberg J.
        • Ray K.N.
        • Mehrotra A.
        The opportunity costs of informal elder-care in the United States: new estimates from the American Time Use Survey.
        Health Serv Res. 2015; 50: 871-882
        • Ly D.P.
        • Seabury S.A.
        • Jena A.B.
        Hours worked among US dual physician couples with children, 2000 to 2015.
        JAMA Intern Med. 2017; 177: 1524-1525