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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979 Feb;36(2):169-73.

Psychiatric disorders among professional women.


A group of 111 women physicians and 103 women PhDs, selected from the general community, were studied for the presence of psychiatric illness. Fifty-one percent of the MDs and 32% of the PhDs were diagnosed as having primary affective disorder (P less than .01). Other psychiatric disorders were found in less than 10% of each group. Depression among the psychiatrists was significantly more common (73%) than among the other physicians (46%). More than 50% of all the women reported prejudice in training or employment, and depressed subjects reported prejudice more often than well subjects. The presence of children and depression were shown to disrupt a woman's professional career. The finding of a high prevalence of affective disorder among women physicians is consistent with the reported excessive suicide risk for this group.

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