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September 13, 1985

Fatalities in the Peace CorpsA Retrospective Study: 1962 Through 1983

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Health Policy and Management, The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore. Dr Hargarten is now with the Emergency Department, St Luke's Hospital, Milwaukee.

JAMA. 1985;254(10):1326-1329. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360100076017

Fatalities among Peace Corps volunteers were analyzed for 1962 through 1983, with individual case histories reviewed for all deaths from 1977 through 1983. Unintentional injuries accounted for 70% of the 185 deaths of Peace Corps volunteers, with motor vehicle crashes the number 1 cause of death. The death rate from unintentional injuries for women was significantly higher than the comparable US rate. Motorcycles caused 12% of all Peace Corps deaths and 33% of all motor vehicle deaths. Suicide has emerged as a leading cause of death among volunteers, accounting for 13% of all deaths from 1981 through 1983. Greater emphasis on injury control measures is needed to reduce this toll.

(JAMA 1985;254:1326-1329)