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Suicide among veterinarians in the United States from 1979 through 2015
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  • Pubmed ID:
    30668293
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC6417412
  • Description:
    OBJECTIVE

    To assess proportionate mortality ratios (PMRs) for suicide among male and female US veterinarians from 1979 through 2015.

    DESIGN

    PMR study.

    SAMPLE

    Death records for 11,620 veterinarians.

    PROCEDURES

    Information for veterinarians who died during 1979 through 2015 was obtained from AVMA obituary and life insurance databases and submitted to a centralized database of US death records to obtain underlying causes of death. Decedent data that met records-matching criteria were imported into a software program for calculation of PMRs for suicide stratified by sex and indirectly standardized for age, race, and 5-year calendar period with 95% confidence intervals.

    RESULTS

    398 deaths resulted from suicide; 326 (82%) decedents were male, 72 (18%) were female, and most (298 [75%]) were ≤ 65 years of age. The PMRs for suicide for all veterinarian decedents (2.1 and 3.5 for males and females, respectively), those in clinical positions (2.2 and 3.4 for males and females, respectively), and those in nonclinical positions (1.8 and 5.0 for males and females, respectively) were significantly higher than for the general US population. Among female veterinarians, the percentage of deaths by suicide was stable from 2000 until the end of the study, but the number of such deaths subjectively increased with each 5-year period.

    CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

    Results of the study indicated that PMRs for suicide of female as well as male veterinarians were higher than for the general population. These data may help to inform stakeholders in the creation and implementation of suicide prevention strategies designed for veterinarians. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2019;254:104–112)

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