Differential reporting of work-related mental ill-health in doctors

A. Y. Zhou, M. Carder, L. Hussey, M. Gittins, R. Agius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Evidence suggests that the medical profession is reluctant to report mental ill-health despite its high prevalence. Aims To compare differential reporting patterns in the incidence of work-related mental ill-health (WRMIH) affecting doctors with selected comparison occupational groups, as determined by surveillance by general practitioners (GPs), specialist psychiatrists and occupational physicians (OPs). Methods New cases of medically reported WRMIH were reported prospectively between 2006 and 2009 by GPs, psychiatrists and OPs as part of The Health and Occupation Research (THOR) network. For GP and psychiatry reporting schemes, incidence rates (IRs) for doctors, nurses, teachers, corporate managers and protective service workers were calculated using information from the Labour Force Survey as the denominator. In OP surveys, participating reporters provided denominator information to calculate IRs for doctors, nurses and teachers. Results Average annual IRs expressed per 100 000 person/years employed as reported by GPs, psychiatrists and OPs, respectively, were: doctors (309, 971, 430), nurses (891, 208, 670), teachers (1040, 136, 210) and for GPs and psychiatrists, respectively, were: protective service workers (1432, 721) and corporate managers (428, 90). Psychiatrists reported a higher incidence of WRMIH in doctors, whereas GPs reported higher incidences of WRMIH in other occupations (chi-squared test, P < 0.001). Conclusions The distribution of the incidence of new cases reported across different schemes suggests a differential reporting pattern of WRMIH in doctors. The higher IR for doctors in psychiatrist-reported WRMIH could be due to factors such as disease severity and bypassing formal referral channels.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberkqx109
Pages (from-to)522-527
Number of pages6
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2017


  • Doctors
  • epidemiology
  • mental ill-health
  • occupational disease incident rate
  • physician

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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