Suicide among physicians and health-care workers: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Autoři: Frederic Dutheil aff001;  Claire Aubert aff003;  Bruno Pereira aff004;  Michaël Dambrun aff005;  Fares Moustafa aff006;  Martial Mermillod aff007;  Julien S. Baker aff009;  Marion Trousselard aff010;  François-Xavier Lesage aff011;  Valentin Navel aff012
Působiště autorů: Université Clermont Auvergne, CNRS, LaPSCo, Physiological and Psychosocial Stress, CHU Clermont-Ferrand, University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand, Occupational and Preventive Medicine, WittyFit, Clermont-Ferrand, France aff001;  Australian Catholic University, Faculty of Health, School of Exercise Science, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia aff002;  Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Faculty of Health Science Simone Veil, Versailles, France aff003;  CHU Clermont-Ferrand, University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand, Biostatistics Unit, the Clinical Research and Innovation Direction, Clermont-Ferrand, France aff004;  Université Clermont Auvergne, CNRS, LaPSCo, Physiological and Psychosocial Stress, Clermont-Ferrand, France aff005;  CHU Clermont-Ferrand, University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand, Emergency, Clermont-Ferrand, France aff006;  Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Univ. Savoie Mont Blanc, CNRS, LPNC, Grenoble, France aff007;  Institut Universitaire de France, Paris, France aff008;  Centre for Health and Exercise Science Research, Department of Sport, Physical Education and Health, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong aff009;  French Armed Forces Biomedical Research Institute-IRBA, Neurophysiology of Stress, Neuroscience and Operational Constraint Department, Brétigny-sur-Orge, France aff010;  University of Montpellier, Laboratory Epsylon EA, Dynamic of Human Abilities & Health Behaviors, CHU Montpellier, University Hospital of Montpellier, Occupational and Preventive Medicine, Montpellier, France aff011;  CHU Clermont-Ferrand, University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand, Ophthalmology, Clermont-Ferrand, France aff012
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article



Medical-related professions are at high suicide risk. However, data are contradictory and comparisons were not made between gender, occupation and specialties, epochs of times. Thus, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis on suicide risk among health-care workers.


The PubMed, Cochrane Library, Science Direct and Embase databases were searched without language restriction on April 2019, with the following keywords: suicide* AND (« health care worker* » OR physician* OR nurse*). When possible, we stratified results by gender, countries, time, and specialties. Estimates were pooled using random-effect meta-analysis. Differences by study-level characteristics were estimated using stratified meta-analysis and meta-regression. Suicides, suicidal attempts, and suicidal ideation were retrieved from national or local specific registers or case records. In addition, suicide attempts and suicidal ideation were also retrieved from questionnaires (paper or internet).


The overall SMR for suicide in physicians was 1.44 (95CI 1.16, 1.72) with an important heterogeneity (I2 = 93.9%, p<0.001). Female were at higher risk (SMR = 1.9; 95CI 1.49, 2.58; and ES = 0.67; 95CI 0.19, 1.14; p<0.001 compared to male). US physicians were at higher risk (ES = 1.34; 95CI 1.28, 1.55; p <0.001 vs Rest of the world). Suicide decreased over time, especially in Europe (ES = -0.18; 95CI -0.37, -0.01; p = 0.044). Some specialties might be at higher risk such as anesthesiologists, psychiatrists, general practitioners and general surgeons. There were 1.0% (95CI 1.0, 2.0; p<0.001) of suicide attempts and 17% (95CI 12, 21; p<0.001) of suicidal ideation in physicians. Insufficient data precluded meta-analysis on other health-care workers.


Physicians are an at-risk profession of suicide, with women particularly at risk. The rate of suicide in physicians decreased over time, especially in Europe. The high prevalence of physicians who committed suicide attempt as well as those with suicidal ideation should benefits for preventive strategies at the workplace. Finally, the lack of data on other health-care workers suggest to implement studies investigating those occupations.

Klíčová slova:

Database searching – General practitioners – Nurses – Physicians – Professions – Suicide – Surgeons


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