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Int J Epidemiol. 1999 Jun;28(3):456-60.

Mortality and causes of death among Danish medical doctors 1973-1992.

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  • 1Danish Institute for Clinical Epidemiology, Copenhagen, Denmark.



To examine the mortality pattern of Danish doctors for the period 1973-1992.


A historical prospective cohort study based on the membership register of the Danish Medical Association. The study population consisted of 21,943 medical doctors, 6012 of whom were women. The doctors' cause-specific mortality was compared with that of the general population.


The study covered about 277,000 person-years. A total of 2387 deaths occurred from 1 January 1973 to 31 December 1992. The doctors' mortality was lower than that of the general population. Both sexes showed a standardized mortality ratio (SMR) below one for cancer, circulatory diseases and other natural causes. Mortality due to lung cancer was particularly low. The SMR for suicide was significantly increased, 1.6 for males (95% CI: 1.4-1.9) and 1.7 for females (95% CI: 1.1-2.5). The suicide rate was increased, in particular because of an increased number of suicides by poisoning. In addition female doctors displayed a relatively high mortality due to accidents and other types of violent death.


Compared with the general population the doctors' mortality was low, but the mortality from external causes was increased, mainly due to an excess number of suicides.

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