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Brief Communication: Physician Interest in Volunteer Service during Retirement

Philip D. Sloane, MD, MPH; Lauren W. Cohen, MA; Thomas R. Konrad, PhD; Christianna S. Williams, PhD; John G. Schumacher, PhD; and Sheryl Zimmerman, PhD
[+] Article and Author Information

From the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, Department of Family Medicine, and School of Social Work, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and The Center for Aging Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland.


Grant Support: By Pioneer Award PIO-04-1004 from the Alzheimer's Association.

Reproducible Research Statement:Study protocol and statistical code: Available from psloane@med.unc.edu. Data set: Not available.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Philip D. Sloane, MD, MPH, The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 725 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, CB 7590, Chapel Hill, NC 27599; e-mail, psloane@med.unc.edu.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Sloane, Konrad, Williams, and Zimmerman and Ms. Cohen: The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 725 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, CB 7590, Chapel Hill, NC 27599.

Dr. Schumacher: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250.

Author Contributions: Conception and design: P.D. Sloane, C.S. Williams, J.G. Schumacher, S. Zimmerman.

Analysis and interpretation of the data: L.W. Cohen, T.R. Konrad, C.S. Williams, J.G. Schumacher.

Drafting of the article: P.D. Sloane, L.W. Cohen, S. Zimmerman.

Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: L.W. Cohen, T.R. Konrad, C.S. Williams, J.G. Schumacher, S. Zimmerman.

Final approval of the article: P.D. Sloane, L.W. Cohen, T.R. Konrad, C.S. Williams, J.G. Schumacher, S. Zimmerman.

Statistical expertise: C.S. Williams.

Obtaining of funding: P.D. Sloane.

Collection and assembly of data: L.W. Cohen.


Ann Intern Med. 2008;149(5):317-322. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-149-5-200809020-00006
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Table 1 shows respondent characteristics. Respondents ranged in age from 55 to 93 years (mean age, 63.6 years [SD, 7.3]); 89.8% were male, 87.4% were white, and 80.0% reported excellent or very good health. The medical specialty most frequently represented was family medicine and general practice (28.5% of respondents). Compared with nonrespondents, respondents were older (P < 0.001) and a higher proportion were white (P < 0.001) and retired (P < 0.001). Respondents and nonrespondents did not differ greatly by sex or medical specialty. Of respondents, 437 (57.4%) reported working full-time and 291 (21.0%) were retired. Retirement probability increased with age for nonretired physicians; 26.4% among those age 55 to 59 years had plans to retire in the next 5 years, whereas 52.4% and 67.1% of those age 60 to 64 years and 65 to 69 years, respectively, planned to retire in that time frame. The proportion of those 70 years of age or older who were planning to retire was 61.4%, which in part reflects the fact that the majority (72.0%) had already retired.

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Appendix Figure.
Study flow diagram.

A stratified random sample was drawn of physicians in adult, nonsurgical, patient-oriented specialties who were reported to be living in North Carolina (NC). All physicians in a 16-county region in central North Carolina were selected; in the remainder of the state, 25% of nonretired physicians and all retired physicians were selected. Response rates are adjusted for the estimated number of ineligible persons (16, 4, and 21 physicians, respectively, in the 16-county, other areas of state, and retired subsamples).

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