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Article |

Suicide in Male and Female Physicians

Robert C. Steppacher, MD; Judith S. Mausner, MD
JAMA. 1974;228(3):323-328. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230280025025.
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The frequency of suicide among physicians in the United States over the 5 1/2-year period March 1965 to August 1970 was studied. Suicides and possible suicides were identified through the obituary listings in JAMA. Confirmation of suicide was attempted for equivocal cases where possible.

Within this time period, 530 deaths by suicide were identified, 489 in men and 41 in women. Analysis indicated that the rate in male physicians was approximately 1.15 times that of the overall male population, whereas for female physicians the rate was fully three times that expected on the basis of population values. For physicians 45 years of age and over, suicide rates were somewhat higher for men. Below that age, there was a marked excess among the women. Twelve of the 41 women were in training. The findings are consistent with reports of high rates of suicide among females in other professions.

(JAMA 228:323-328, 1974)


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