The impact of work-life balance on intention to stay in academia: Results from a national survey of pharmacy faculty

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Border-Crossing theory suggests work-life balance and career satisfaction are inter-related and disappointment in work-life balance may predict changes in one's career path. Application of this theory to health profession faculty is plausible but has not been fully explored. The purpose of this study is to examine factors related to reported career change intention among United States pharmacy school faculty and to determine if Border-Crossing theory fits these observations.


Results from a national web-based survey administered via Qualtrics® to American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) members were utilized. Bivariate analyses were conducted to compare differences among faculty stating an intention to stay or leave academia. A logistic multivariate model was used to determine if work-life balance remains significant when controlling for other variables and if survey results support the Border-Crossing theory.


Nearly all (seven hundred of 811 responders, or 86.3%) stated a desire to stay in academia. Faculty with higher work-life balance were more likely to report an intent to remain in academia. Male, older, full-professor and non-pharmacy practice faculty (social or administrative science, pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and others) were more likely to state an intention to remain in academia relative to their counterparts. Lower stress, as measured by the validated Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) scores, was seen among faculty stating a desire to remain in academia. Work-life balance remained significantly inversely related to career change intention after controlling for all other factors.


A significant factor related to pharmacy faculty's stated intention to remain in academia was work-life balance. Other factors such as gender, age, rank, stress level and department may also play a role. These results support the application of the Border-Crossing theory in health profession faculty and may provide pharmacy school administrators and stakeholders with insight to foster faculty retention and decrease faculty turnover.

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