Background. Suicide mortality among medical practitioners
in many countries significantly
higher compared with other professionals and the general population.
Differences between male
and female physicians are difficult to estimate reliably because previous
comparisons are mainly based on crude mortality rates.
Methods. Age-specific mortality rates were calculated for
physicians, other professionals and the
general population, males and females separately, as well as standardized
(SMR) comparing physicians with the other groups. Crude mortality rates
were calculated for the specialist groups.
Results. The SMR for male (female) physicians was 0·9
(2·4) compared with the general male
(female) population and 2·4 (3·7) compared with other male
(female) professionals. The SMR
between male and female physicians was 1·2 (95% CI
Conclusions. Our results do not support the claim that female
physicians have a greater risk of
suicide than their male colleagues, but are concordant with previous
observations of a higher
suicide rate in female physicians compared with the general population
and other female professionals.