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Br J Gen Pract. 1993 Sep;43(374):378-82.

Comparison of the health and lifestyle of general practitioners and teachers.

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  • 1Centre for Primary Health Care, University of Keele.


A total of 704 general practitioners and 588 teachers responded to a questionnaire about their health and lifestyle in 1991 (response rates 82% and 87%, respectively). The results for lifestyle measures were compared with those of a similar questionnaire completed by about half of each group two years before--there were no changes in the answers of either occupational group in the intervening two years. In 1991, 9% of general practitioners and 15% of teachers drank 22 units of alcohol per week or more; 13% of general practitioners and 23% of teachers reported troublesome depression and 31% of doctors and 37% of teachers excessive anxiety in the preceding 12 months. Teachers had more sickness absence, and significantly more experienced a need for daily alcohol and binge eating, and reported sleep difficulties, depression and anxiety than general practitioners. Self-medication among general practitioners was common and overall accounted for 83% of the medication taken by doctors. A follow-up survey of non-respondents found that only 11% of general practitioners and 11% of teachers indicated they had a health problem they wished to conceal or that they felt the questions were too intimate. General practitioners' lifestyle habits are better than those of teachers and published figures for the general population. The frequency of reported mental health problems in both professions gives cause for concern.

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