Pediatricians' Career Satisfaction and Wellbeing by Sex Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Objective: To compare pediatrician career satisfaction and wellbeing by sex during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic with prepandemic years using longitudinal survey data.

Methods: Data from a cohort study, the American Academy of Pediatrics Pediatrician Life and Career Experience Study, were used to examine career satisfaction and wellbeing from 2012 to 2021 among 2002-2004 and 2009-2011 residency graduates (n = 1760). Mixed effects logistic regression, including key pediatrician characteristics, examined career satisfaction and wellbeing measures for sex (female vs male), pandemic year (2012-2019 vs 2020-2021), and their interaction effect. Adjusted predicted percentage values (PVs) were determined.

Results: In total, 73.4% of participants identified as female. Adjusting for key pediatrician characteristics, differences were found by sex for satisfaction and 4 of 5 wellbeing measures, by pandemic year for 2 wellbeing measures, and the interaction of sex and pandemic year for 3 wellbeing measures. Female pediatricians reported higher levels of anxiety, sadness, and work stress, with greater differences during the pandemic. For example, female pediatricians (PV = 22.6, confidence interval [CI] = 21.0-24.3) were more likely than male pediatricians (PV = 14.2, CI = 12.0-16.4) to report anxiety during pre-pandemic years, and the difference between female pediatricians (PV = 29.3, CI = 26.7-32.0) and male pediatricians (PV = 12.4, CI = 9.3-15.5) increased during pandemic years (sex by pandemic year interaction, P < .001).

Conclusions: Compared with male pediatricians, female pediatricians reported worse anxiety, sadness, and stress at work, and the differences were more pronounced during the pandemic.