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April 18, 1977

Suicide Among Women Physicians

JAMA. 1977;237(16):1693. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270430035012

To the Editor.—  The authors of "Preventing Physician Suicide" (237:143-145) address a very real problem for the medical community. They allude only in passing, however, to the sex of the physician as a possible influence on likelihood of suicide and on presentation of barriers to suicide prevention.It is fruitful to consider men and women physicians who commit suicide separately. The psychosocial dynamics of their problems may well differ; certainly, their personal characteristics do. Women physicians have a higher suicide rate than men physicians and a much higher rate when each group is compared with the general population (228:323, 1974).1 In general, women physicians who commit suicide are younger than men physicians who commit suicide, thus resulting in a relatively greater loss of professional working years as well as total life years.Family social dynamics are almost certain to differ for married men and women physicians. Female physicians who