Female nurses at high risk for suicide, study finds

Female nurses are about two times more likely to die by suicide compared to the general female population, according to a study published April 14 in JAMA Psychiatry

Researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor analyzed data on 159,372 suicides reported in the U.S. between 2007 and 2018 to estimate incidence rates for physicians, nurses and the general public. They identified 2,374 suicides among nurses and 857 among physicians over this time period. Among the nurses who died by suicide, 80.5 percent were women. 

Five study findings:

1. Overall, nurses had a higher suicide incidence than the general population, and this rate moderately increased over the 12-year period.

2. The suicide incidence for male nurses decreased and was lower than the general population in 2017-18. 

3. The suicide rate for female nurses was 17.1 per 100,000 population in 2017-18 compared to just 8.6 per 100,000 for the general female population.

4. Researchers' understanding of male nurses' suicide risk relative to the general public was more unclear, due to the study's small sample size of male nurses, study author Matthew Davis, PhD, an associate professor in the department of systems, population and leadership at the University of Michigan, told Medscape.

5. Female nurses were also 70 percent more likely to die by suicide than female physicians, who did not have a higher suicide rate than the general public. 

To view the full study, click here.

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