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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1987 Feb;75(2):139-43.

Suicide patterns among physicians related to other academics as well as to the general population. Results from a national long-term prospective study and a retrospective study.


In the present study, we have followed a national cohort of physicians, academics and the general population (part of the compulsory census in 1960) for a period of 10 years and identified all cases of suicide during the period 1961-1970. Furthermore, we have carried out a retrospective study of suicides among the four major medical specialist groups (general practitioners, internists, psychiatrists and general surgeons) and compared these rates with other medical specialists. Results show an elevated standardized mortality ratio (SMR) for suicide among female physicians compared to other academics as well as to the general population. Furthermore, male doctors exhibit an elevated suicide rate only when compared to other academics. Among the various specialists, general surgeons alone exhibited a significantly elevated suicide rate. The study clearly shows that female physicians are more prone to suicide than most other women, but that male physicians are also at risk compared to other male academics. Furthermore, at least in Sweden, general surgeons, not psychiatrists, have the highest suicide rate of all physicians.

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