Demographic and personal characteristics of male and female chairs in academic psychiatry

Marley Doyle*, Aderonke Pederson, Samantha Meltzer-Brody

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: Despite the strong representation of female psychiatrists in residency and early-career positions, the number of female faculty sharply decreases in tenured or executive leadership positions. Why there exists a marked change in representation at the level of senior leadership within academic psychiatry is unclear. The authors investigated the causative factors contributing to this observation and gathered information about the personal characteristics of women in executive leadership roles. Methods: The authors surveyed psychiatry chairs at academic institutions. They identified all female chairs and randomly selected a group of male chairs to serve as a control group. The survey assessed perceived barriers, strengths, and weaknesses and differences in demographics and leadership styles between female and male chairs. Results: Ten percent of psychiatry chairs were female. Male chairs were more likely than female chairs to head large departments (p = 0.02, confidence interval (CI) -17.1-69.1) and had a higher H-index (p = 0.001, CI 6.6-37.2). Female chairs were more likely than male chairs to perceive barriers in their career development (p = 0.01, CI 0.7-2.2), citing little or no mentorship (p = 0.04), gender discrimination (p = 0.0001), and family obligations (p = 0.001) more often. Conclusion: Academic institutions must incorporate programs to decrease barriers and work to achieve equitable representation of women in upper-level leadership positions. Moreover, academic medicine must evolve to cultivate a family-friendly environment that successfully supports both genders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-409
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Career
  • Gender
  • Leadership
  • Psychiatry
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Demographic and personal characteristics of male and female chairs in academic psychiatry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this