We have investigated the mortality pattern of Norwegian doctors, human service occupations, other graduates and the general population during the period 1960-2000 by decades, gender and age.
Material and methods
Census data from 1960, 1970, 1980 and 1990 relating to education were linked to 14 main causes of death data from Statistics Norway, and followed up for the period 1960-2000. The total overall number of deaths in the study population was 1,583,559.
The doctors had a lower mortality than the general population for all causes except suicide. The relative incidence rate ratios among other graduates and human service occupations were about 0.7-0.8 compared with the general population. However, doctors had a higher mortality than other graduates. The lowest estimates in doctor mortality was from endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases, diseases in the urogenital tract or genitalia, digestive diseases and sudden death where the numbers was nearly half of those in the general population. There was a widening of the gap in mortality between doctors and the general population during the period, as there was a pattern of decreasing mortality rates (0.90-0.69 for men, 0.81-0.73 for women) among doctors during 1960-2000.
During the 40-year study period the difference in mortality rates between doctors and the general population have increased. Doctors have a higher mortality rate than other graduates that may be explained by the higher suicide rates among doctors.