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May 19, 1978

Academic Affiliation and Physician Mortality

Author Affiliations

Harvard Medical School Boston

JAMA. 1978;239(20):2116. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280470028012

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To the Editor.—  A long-standing interest in the role of stress in the cause of coronary heart disease and a recent interest in the stress of internship application led me to make some calculations that may be of interest to fellow applicants at all levels.The obituary notices of the Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin (November 1974 to October 1977) provided a means of dividing all 215 male physicians into two groups: those who had been full-time generalist or specialist practitioners and those who had had academic affiliations. Longevity of the two groups was compared.The 125 in practice lived an average of 48.9 years beyond graduation, compared with 43.2 years for the 90 academicians, a difference of 5.7 years (P<.005 by the t-test). Subdividing the latter into 49 full-time and 41 part-time teachers or researchers gave figures of 43.0 and 43.5 years, respectively.Though it is true that