June 30, 1975

Remembrance of Things (Hopefully) Past

JAMA. 1975;232(13):1331-1332. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250130015011

IT IS generally held that physicians, and especially psychiatrists, kill themselves at a rate higher than that of the rest of the population.1 It has been further suggested, both by Craig and Pitts,1 and by Steppacher and Mausner,2 that among physicians the suicide rate of the women exceeds that of the men, regardless of specialty.1 This excess was limited by women physicians under 45 years of age; after age 45 their rate was somewhat less than the rate of men physicians.2

Steppacher and Mausner's2 study group comprised all physicians who had committed suicide during the 5 1/2-year period, 1965 to 1970. Of the 41 women suicides, nearly two thirds died before age 45. Half of the total group of women had never married; almost one third were still in training.

Mausner and Steppacher3 place the contributory stresses primarily in the training years, that