Are Psychiatry Programs Providing Adequate Parental Leave to Their Residents?


North Florida


North Florida Regional Medical Center

Document Type


Publication Date



Parental leave, Program directors, Psychiatry, Residency


Medical Education | Psychiatry


OBJECTIVE: During residency training, parental leave is frequently briefer than may be optimal for the well-being of the family. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requires residency programs to have a parental leave policy without providing specific guidelines on its makeup, resulting in varying policies and confusion among residents planning parental leave. This study identifies differences in parental leave policies in psychiatry residencies and discusses if these policies are adequate.

METHODS: A 45-question, anonymous survey was emailed to general psychiatry and fellowship program directors in the USA.

RESULTS: Out of 520 program directors contacted, 186 completed the survey (35.7% response rate). Among the respondents, 94.1% had policies for maternity leave, 79.8% had policies for paternity leave, and 67.2% had policies for non-childbearing parental leave (e.g., adoption). Variations were reported in implementation, coverage, and accommodations. Most respondents (57.1%) believed that residents would benefit from more parental leave. Some (11.5%) believed that parenthood negatively affected residents' overall performance, especially regarding patient care and clinical skills; 36.5% endorsed that parenthood negatively affected overall residents' well-being; and 7.5% felt negatively when an applicant was pregnant or was planning to become pregnant during residency. Lastly, 32.9% were not confident regarding ACGME, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, federal, and hospital policies.

CONCLUSIONS: Parental leave policies are not universal in US psychiatry residency and fellowship programs. Some program directors feel that parenthood adversely affects residents' clinical performance as well as well-being. If true, reformation of parental leave policies may be a remedy.

Publisher or Conference

Academic Psychiatry