A national study of psychiatrists' professional activities

R. A. Dorwart, L. R. Chartock, T. Dial, W. Fenton, D. Knesper, L. M. Koran, P. J. Leaf, H. Pincus, R. Smith, S. Weissman, R. Winkelmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective and Method: A mail survey was conducted in 1988-1989 to study the professional activities of U.S. psychiatrists. Data from the 19,431 active respondents are reported. Results: Nineteen percent of the psychiatrists were women, an increase from the 17% reported in 1982. The median age of the respondents was 50 years. Nearly one-third of the respondents expressed interest in each of the following areas of subspecialization: adolescent psychiatry, substance abuse, geriatrics, and consultation-liaison psychiatry. More than one-fifth reported formal fellowship training in child/adolescent psychiatry. The psychiatrists worked an average of 48 hours per week - two-thirds in direct patient care - in an average of 2.3 different settings. The proportion of psychiatrists reporting private practice as their primary work setting showed a marked decline from 53% in 1982 to 45% in 1988. There was an increase from 4% in 1982 to 11% in 1988 in those whose primary work setting was a private psychiatric hospital. The typical caseload was over 60 patients, with roughly half that number seen each week. For inpatients treated, the two most common diagnoses were affective disorders and schizophrenic disorders. In a typical week psychiatrists treated about one-half of their outpatients with individual psychotherapy; three-fifths of these were also treated with medications. The average net income for psychiatrists working 35 hours or more per week was $99,850 for men and $73,174 for women. Conclusions: Major trends evident from this study are subspecialization, medicalization, privatization, feminization, and organizational diversification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1499-1505
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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