CSIOMS Oral Abstract
Suicide in Healthcare Providers
Purpose: Healthcare provider (HCP) burnout has been increasingly recognized in the last decade. The most extreme result is suicide. The purpose of this study was to compare suicide risk factors for 3 types of HCPs (non-surgeon physicians, surgeons, and dentists) to non-HCPs.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) from 2003-2016. Suicide victims, their professions and potential contributing factors were identified from the dataset. The primary predictor variable was profession (non-surgeon physician, surgeon, dentist, or non-HCP). Outcome variables included suicide risk factors, such as mental health problems, financial problems, recent legal/criminal problems, and physical health problems. Bivariate analyses and multivariate logistic regression were performed and a p-value < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: There were a total of 170,030 suicide victims: 797 (0.45%) in HCPs and 169,233 (99.5%) in non-HCPs. The HCP cohort included non-surgeon physicians (n=485, 0.29%), surgeons (n=103, 0.06%), and dentists (n=179, 0.11%). When compared to non-HCPs, HCPs that committed suicide were more likely to have a depressed mood (p=0.007, OR=1.28 [1.07,1.53]), active mental illness treatment (p=0.0083, OR=1.30 [1.07,1.57]), legal problems (p=0.029, OR=1.60 [1.08,2.40]), physical health problems (p<0.0001, OR=1.88 [1.55,2.28]), and job problems (p<0.0001, OR=1.77 [1.40,2.24]). HCPs that committed suicide were less likely than non-HCPs to have to alcohol abuse (p=0.0008, OR=0.62 [0.46,0.82]), substance abuse (p<0.0001, OR=0.49 [0.35,0.69]), and intimate partner problems (p=0.0046, OR=0.73 [0.59,0.91]). Compared to surgeons, non-surgeon physicians that committed suicide were more likely to have a depressed mood (p=0.0492, OR=1.54 [1.007,2.37]). Compared to dentists, non-surgeon physicians that committed suicide were more likely to have recent criminal legal problems (p=0.0403, OR=2.62 [1.009,6.81]) but were less likely to have financial problems (p=0.0065, OR=0.49, [0.30,0.80]).
Conclusion: Job-related stressors, legal problems and physical health problems, all of which may be related to a career as a healthcare provider, were greater contributors to suicide in HCPs compared to non-HCPs. Drug and substance abuse, which are commonly seen in suicide victims, featured less prominently in HCPs. Our data are contrary to the common notion that HCPs are more recalcitrant to seek mental health treatment than non-HCPs. These data highlight areas for possible intervention in this at-risk population.
Supported by the OMS Foundation