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Eur Psychiatry. 2000 May;15(3):183-9.

The prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts among Norwegian physicians. Results from a cross-sectional survey of a nationwide sample.

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Department of Behavioural Sciences in Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway.


Physicians have a higher suicide rate than the general population or other academics. Little is known about the reasons for this. Analysing risk factors may be a valuable way of identifying reasons for the high suicide rate among physicians, thereby leading to preventive efforts. The present study is one of the first papers on suicidal thoughts and attempts among physicians. A questionnaire about suicidal thoughts (developed by E.S. Paykel) was completed by 1,063 of 1,476 active Norwegian physicians (72%). Lifetime prevalence ranged from 51.1% for feelings that life was not worth living to 1.6% for a suicide attempt. Risk factors were being female, living alone, and depression. Suicidal thoughts, however, were hardly attributed to working conditions. A high rate of suicide and a low rate of suicidal attempts support the hypothesis that physicians do not 'cry for help,' but are inclined to act out their suicidal impulses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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