Suicide higher among physicians than general population
Incidence of suicide was higher among physicians than in the general population and affected female physicians significantly more than male, according to a study published in Psychiatry Research.
“The medical practice has undergone numerous and important changes since its beginnings as a liberal profession up until the present. In some way, doctors have experienced a reduction in their autonomy by the increase in administrative tasks and health care pressure,” Maria Irigoyen-Otinano, MD, of the University Hospital Santa Maria, in Lerida, Spain, and colleagues wrote.
Irigoyen-Otinano and colleagues sought to compare the death rate due to suicide of physicians in Spain with the general population and to examine differences based on gender.
The study utilized information from databases of the General Council of Official Medical Associations for all physicians, as well as the National Institute of Statistics for the general population for deaths by suicide in Spain between 2005 and 2014. During that time period, the number of doctors increased from 199,123 to 238,240. Principal measures for analysis included gender, age, specialty, place of residence and death, and causes of death according to the ICD-10.
Rates of death by suicide were higher among physicians (1,295.7 per 100,000 deaths) than those in the general population (813.21 per 100,000). Rates among physicians rose from 470 in 2007, to just under 2,000 in 2013.
Suicide rates among men were just 983 per 100,000, compared with 3,708 per 100,000 among women. Moreover, 37% of physician suicides occurred in those aged between 50 and 59 years (36,974.8 per 100,000).
“The findings obtained, in short, suggest emphasizing the prevention of suicidal behavior in physicians and implementing specific measures for this purpose,” Irigoyen-Otinano and colleagues wrote.