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Home » Archive » 2022

TDK conference 2022

International comparative study on suicidal tendency among veterinarians
Várnai Claire Helen - year 6
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Veterinary Forensics, Law and Economics
Supervisor: Dr. Marietta Máté

Abstract:

The suicide rate among veterinarians is twice that of any other medical profession and four times that of the general population. The present study examines the main factors contributing to suicidal ideation and the prevalence of suicidal tendencies among veterinarians in Hungary, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and a small sample of veterinarians in other Nordic countries (Norway, Denmark and Estonia). The survey was carried out using an online questionnaire and it examined how country, age, gender, number of hours worked per week, job title and length of annual leave affects suicidal ideation among veterinarians.

By means of Google Forms, an online questionnaire composed of 55-question was created and completed between 19 July 2021 and 23 February 2022. A total of 724 veterinarians from seven countries completed the questionnaire: 236 from Hungary, 218 from Finland, 157 from Sweden, 77 from Germany, 26 from Estonia, 5 from Denmark and 5 from Norway. The responses were analysed using Pearson's chi-square test.

The results showed that work-related stressors were significant in contributing to negative mental health among veterinarians in all surveyed countries. Among these stressors, respondents rated clients' expectations of prompt diagnosis on average 4.34 points on a Likert scale of 1 to 5; 76.6% in Germany and 57.9% in Hungary strongly agreed (5 points), a difference considered significant (p<0.001). Veterinarians rated anxiety due to conscientiousness and punctuality in their work with an average score of 3.91 points, with which 50.4% of respondents in Hungary strongly agreed. The emotional impact of performing euthanasia on veterinarians was ranked low by respondents with an average score of 2.65 points, with significant differences between countries, which were also considered significant (p<0.0001). 28.7% and 15.6% of younger veterinarians (aged 23-34 years) agreed and strongly agreed that their role in their work had a negative impact on their mental health, while 33.9% of older respondents (aged 54 years and over) strongly disagreed with this statement. Female veterinarians were more likely to seek professional counselling (22.4%) than male veterinarians (9.1%). Older veterinarians and veterinarians in more senior positions (25.4% and 19.6%) were able to take care of their mental health and get help if their mental health deteriorated, compared to younger veterinarians (7.2%).

The causes of suicide are complex, with a mixture of social, psychological and behavioural issues specific to the individual. But by addressing the issues in the veterinary field, an effective suicide prevention strategy can be developed to save lives.



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