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Location, vocation, procreation: how choice influences life expectancy in doctors

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard Holleyman


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Background Stress and mortality are negatively correlated and it is generally accepted that certain professions are more stressful than others. Medical graduates begin as a relatively homogenous population who then choose vastly different career options making doctors an ideal population in which to try to assess whether job stress is likely to be causal to increased mortality.Aims To establish the influence of various modifiable risk factors on the life expectancy of UK doctors.Methods We analysed a decade of obituaries from the British Medical Journal published between January 2003 and December 2012. Data included age at death (AAD), specialty, region (deanery), marriage status and children.Results A total of 3068 obituaries were eligible for inclusion. Mean AAD was 78.5 years. Male sex was associated with a significantly increased AAD by an additional 3.8 years (95% CI 2.4-5.2 years, P < 0.001). Public health, obstetrics and gynaecology and laboratory medicine specialties were all associated with significantly increased AAD (P < 0.05). London and Northern Ireland deaneries were both associated with significantly increased AAD (P < 0.05). Each additional child was associated with a relative increase in AAD of + 1.1 years (95% CI 0.7-1.4 years, P < 0.001).Conclusions Our results show that location and career choices may affect life expectancy. While this does not necessarily reflect quality of life, the additional years of life gained from having extra children have a positive effect on your quantity of life.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Holleyman R, Jones SV

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Occupational Medicine

Year: 2016

Volume: 66

Issue: 4

Pages: 276-278

Print publication date: 01/06/2016

Online publication date: 05/01/2016

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 0962-7480

ISSN (electronic): 1471-8405

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/occmed/kqv207


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