Relationships of gender and career motivation to medical faculty members' production of academic publications

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



*Attitude of Health Personnel; Cohort Studies; Efficiency; *Faculty, Medical; Family Practice; Family Relations; Female; Humans; Internal-External Control; Job Satisfaction; Male; Medicine; *Motivation; Multivariate Analysis; *Publishing; Questionnaires; Regression Analysis; Schools, Medical; Science; Sex Factors; Sexual Harassment; Specialization; Specialties, Surgical; Time Factors; United States


Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research


PURPOSE: To evaluate the relationships between both internal and external career-motivating factors and academic productivity (as measured by the total numbers of publications) among full-time medical faculty, and whether these relationships differ for men and women.

METHOD: In 1995 a 177-item survey was mailed to 3,013 full-time faculty at 24 randomly selected U.S. medical schools stratified on area of medical specialization, length of service, and gender. Two-tailed t-tests and regression analyses were used to study the data.

RESULTS: A total of 1,764 faculty were used in the final analyses. The women had published two thirds as many articles as had the men (mean, 24.2 vs. 37.8). Intrinsic and extrinsic career motivation were rated similarly (on a three-point scale) by the women and the men: intrinsic career motivation was rated higher (women's mean rating: 2.8, men's mean rating: 2.9) than was extrinsic career motivation (mean rating: 2.1 for both). The main findings of the regression analyses were (1) intrinsic career motivation was positively associated, and extrinsic career motivation was negatively associated, with the number of publications; (2) publication rates were higher for the men than for the women after controlling for career motivation; and (3) there was no significant effect of gender on these relationships.

CONCLUSION: The women faculty published less than did their men colleagues, but this difference cannot be accounted for by gender differences in career motivation. Further research on institutional support, family obligations, harassment, and other factors that could affect academic productivity is necessary to understand the gender difference in numbers of publications.


Acad Med. 1998 Feb;73(2):180-6. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed