QUESTION UNDER STUDY: The present study aimed to compare the prevalence of work-life conflicts and the health status of physicians, with a representative sample of university graduates as well as with a representative sample of the general Swiss working population. Furthermore, it aimed to analyse whether work-life conflicts correlate with the health of physicians, as it does in the general working population. METHODS: The present cross-sectional study analysed data from 2007 originating from the SwissMedCareer Study (a prospective cohort study of physicians who graduated in 2001; n = 543) and the Swiss Household Panel (a representative Swiss survey on living and working conditions; university graduates of the same age range: n = 172, general working population of the same age range: n = 670). Data were analysed with Chi2 tests, correlations and logistic regressions. RESULTS: Physicians reported strong time-based as well as strain-based work-life conflicts more frequently than university graduates and the general working population. Significantly more physicians reported "moderate" to "very poor" health than the other two samples. Surprisingly, on the other side of the scale ("very good" health), physicians outnumbered the other samples too. Strong associations between work-life conflict and self-rated health as well as various health complaints were found for physicians. CONCLUSION: The high prevalence of work-life conflicts may explain the comparably high prevalence of poor self-rated health in the physicians' sample.