Doctors Most Loved, Trusted

The phrase “Trust me, I’m a doctor” has become a humorous catchphrase in recent years. It turns out, however, to be true.

It really does pay to be a doctor, with an international survey showing the medical profession is the most trusted, among the most admired and includes the most eligible marriage partners. By contrast, actors and musicians, along with journalists and advertisers, were among professionals that people trusted the least, and were also least likely to choose a partner from, according to a survey by Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc.

“Much of who we are is tied up in what we do in the hours from nine to five, and often way beyond,” a Synovate statement said. “Asking someone what they do for a living is often the first question you ask them; right after ‘what’s your name?’.”

The survey polled about 5,500 respondents in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Malaysia, South Africa and the United States. It asked people what makes for an admirable job, which professions they trust or do not, who is overpaid, and which profession they would prefer to marry.

Sixteen percent nominated doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals as their preferred marriage partners, higher than any other profession. Other eligible — and admired — professions were education, at 14 percent, and science and technology, at 10 percent.

Educators and doctors were also voted the most trusted by an overwhelming 86 and 87 percent, followed by homemakers and those in science and technology.

I’m reminded of an old Lewis Grizzard joke whose punchline is “Hopalong Ginsberg, at your service!”  (I can’t find it online.  The short, sanitized version is that the narrator converses on a long train ride with an attractive, worldly woman and learns that, in her extensive experience, cowboys and Jewish men make the best lovers.)

But I digress. The results aren’t surprising, in that girls, especially, have it drummed in to them that marrying a doctor is an aspiration and boys — and, increasingly, girls — are brought up with the idea that becoming a doctor is the ideal career path (as opposed to becoming a cowboy, for example, which should be especially eschewed).  By contrast, artists, actors and musicians are considered likely to lead lives of poverty and debauchery.

The amusing thing about this, though, is that being married to a physician is quite different than being married to, say, a college professor, let alone a schoolteacher.  While the former is likely to be much better compensated, they are likely to have mountains of debt from their school days and to work inordinately long hours, having little time for their family.

Photo by Flickr user Erik K Veland under Creative Commons license.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jay Tea says:

    Stephen Wright, actually. Meets a woman on a bus who is a nymphomaniac but only attracted to Jewish cowboys. They exchange names: “Diane.” “Pleased to meet you, Diane, I’m Bucky Goldstein.”