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Salary Differences between Men and Women Internists in Pennsylvania FREE

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Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 2000;133(2):104. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-133-2-200007180-00023
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

An increasing number of doctors in the United States are women. Some previous studies have indicated that women doctors tend to receive lower salaries and advance more slowly in their profession than do men doctors. It is unclear, however, whether these seeming disadvantages for women doctors are due to the types of jobs they select, the number of hours they work, or gender discrimination. One large national survey of doctors done about 10 years ago suggested that the salary differences between men and women doctors were disappearing, but another survey of pediatricians suggested that substantial salary differences still existed.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To see whether the salaries of male and female internists really are different after accounting for type of job and number of hours worked. Internists are doctors who have completed a 3-year residency training program in internal medicine after medical school. Some internists complete further training in a specialty area, such as cardiology or gastroenterology.

Who was studied?

The researchers studied 232 men and 213 women internists in 1998. All of the doctors were practicing in Pennsylvania at the time and had graduated from medical school 10 to 30 years before the study was done.

How was the study done?

The researchers asked the doctors to complete a written survey that included questions about their personal characteristics, medical education and training, practice type and setting, status within the practice, family life, and salary. The researchers then compared the salaries of men and women after accounting for differences in type of job, hours worked, and leave taken from work for family reasons, such as child care.

What did the researchers find?

Women were more likely than men to be involved in the least lucrative practices, to be in low-paying specialties, to be salaried employees rather than partners in a practice, and to spend fewer hours seeing patients than men. However, even after adjustment for these important differences, men internists earned 14% more per hour than women internists.

What were the limitations of the study?

This study included only internists in a single state; the findings may not apply to other types of doctors or to doctors in other states. Only 445 of the 939 doctors who received the survey completed it fully. It is possible that the results would be different if all of the doctors had completed the survey.

What are the implications of the study?

Many women who practice internal medicine are still paid less than their male colleagues who work similar hours in similar practices.

Summaries for Patients are a service provided by Annals to help patients better understand the complicated and often mystifying language of modern medicine.

Summaries for Patients are presented for informational purposes only. These summaries are not a substitute for advice from your own medical provider. If you have questions about this material, or need medical advice about your own health or situation, please contact your physician. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

The summary below is from the full report titled “Salary Equity among Male and Female Internists in Pennsylvania.” It is in the 18 July 2000 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 133, pages 104-110). The authors are R.B. Ness, F. Ukoli, S. Hunt, S.C. Kiely, M.A. McNeil, V. Richardson, N. Weissbach, and S.H. Belle.

Summaries for Patients are a service provided by Annals to help patients better understand the complicated and often mystifying language of modern medicine.

Summaries for Patients are presented for informational purposes only. These summaries are not a substitute for advice from your own medical provider. If you have questions about this material, or need medical advice about your own health or situation, please contact your physician. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

The summary below is from the full report titled “Salary Equity among Male and Female Internists in Pennsylvania.” It is in the 18 July 2000 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 133, pages 104-110). The authors are R.B. Ness, F. Ukoli, S. Hunt, S.C. Kiely, M.A. McNeil, V. Richardson, N. Weissbach, and S.H. Belle.

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