Physician families have experienced significant changes in the last half century as the rise of female physicians has resulted in an increase in the number of dual physician couples. The present research is a qualitative study of dual physician couples (N = 32). A social exchange framework is used to conceptualize the costs and rewards that dual physician couples experience with regards to work and family domains. A constructivist grounded theory was used as a theory of methodology so that findings were grounded in the data. Results of this study showed that couples tended to struggle for what was important regarding the competing demands they faced yet, felt that their relationships were favorable when compared with their peers. Also it was found that couples tended to provide each other with empathy and that this resulted in their giving each other license to work as physicians with a less negative impact to the relationship. Theoretical analysis revealed that couples tended to experience confusing exchanges in which physician characteristics made it challenging to assess the costs and rewards of their relationship. This study has implications for theory and research as it incorporates family theory and analysis into the literature on dual physician families. Further, it incorporates qualitative research, which was suggested as necessary in previous studies. Lastly, it has implications for policy affecting physician work life environment and best practice intervention with these families.
Counseling and Family Sciences
School of Behavioral Health
Fox, Curtis A.
Chand, Ian P.
Wilson, Colwick M.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Communication in the family; Marriage; Interpersonal relationships; Dual-career couples; Marriage roles
Subject - Local
Dual-Physician Couples, Social exchange framework, Constructivist grounded theory
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Zinke, A. Benjamin, "Dual Physician Couples: An Exploration of Family Stressors and Coping" (2012). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 109.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives