Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jrsocmedLink to Publisher's site
J R Soc Med. 1997 September; 90(9): 491–495.
PMCID: PMC1296526

Illness doesn't belong to us.


There has been little research in Britain into the experiences of doctors who are ill. We conducted in-depth interviews with 64 doctors of all grades with a recent illness lasting one month or more. Whether the illness was physical or psychiatric, many expressed the idea that illness is inappropriate for doctors. This idea is a cultural value among doctors which is reinforced by the organization of medical work. It discourages doctors from seeking and obtaining appropriate help when they are ill.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (835K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Murray RM. Psychiatric illness in doctors. Lancet. 1974 Jun 15;1(7868):1211–1213. [PubMed]
  • Beare AS, Schild GC, Craig JW. Trials in man with live recombinants made from A/PR/8/34 (H0 N1) and wild H3 N2 influenza viruses. Lancet. 1975 Oct 18;2(7938):729–732. [PubMed]
  • Brooke D, Edwards G, Taylor C. Addiction as an occupational hazard: 144 doctors with drug and alcohol problems. Br J Addict. 1991 Aug;86(8):1011–1016. [PubMed]
  • Tyrer SP. Learned pain behaviour. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986 Jan 4;292(6512):1–2. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Firth-Cozens J. Emotional distress in junior house officers. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987 Aug 29;295(6597):533–536. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Winefield HR, Anstey TJ. Job stress in general practice: practitioner age, sex and attitudes as predictors. Fam Pract. 1991 Jun;8(2):140–144. [PubMed]
  • Caplan RP. Stress, anxiety, and depression in hospital consultants, general practitioners, and senior health service managers. BMJ. 1994 Nov 12;309(6964):1261–1263. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ramirez AJ, Graham J, Richards MA, Cull A, Gregory WM. Mental health of hospital consultants: the effects of stress and satisfaction at work. Lancet. 1996 Mar 16;347(9003):724–728. [PubMed]
  • Allibone A, Oakes D, Shannon HS. The health and health care of doctors. J R Coll Gen Pract. 1981 Dec;31(233):728–734. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Chambers R, Belcher J. Self-reported health care over the past 10 years: a survey of general practitioners. Br J Gen Pract. 1992 Apr;42(357):153–156. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Pullen D, Lonie CE, Lyle DM, Cam DE, Doughty MV. Medical care of doctors. Med J Aust. 1995 May 1;162(9):481–484. [PubMed]
  • King MB, Cockcroft A, Gooch C. Emotional distress in doctors: sources, effects and help sought. J R Soc Med. 1992 Oct;85(10):605–608. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • MacDonald EB, McCloy EC. Sick doctors. Existing services need to be coordinated. BMJ. 1994 Nov 5;309(6963):1235–1235. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Williams S, Cockcroft A, Aw TC, Harling K, Graneek KB. Sick doctors. Develop existing occupational health services. BMJ. 1994 Nov 5;309(6963):1235–1235. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McBride M, Metcalfe D. General practitioners' low morale: reasons and solutions. Br J Gen Pract. 1995 May;45(394):227–229. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Donaldson LJ. Sick doctors. BMJ. 1994 Sep 3;309(6954):557–558. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Rout U, Rout JK. Job satisfaction, mental health and job stress among general practitioners before and after the new contract--a comparative study. Fam Pract. 1994 Sep;11(3):300–306. [PubMed]
  • Styles WM. Stress in undergraduate medical education: 'the mask of relaxed brilliance'. Br J Gen Pract. 1993 Feb;43(367):46–47. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Higgs R. Doctors in crisis: creating a strategy for mental health in health care work. J R Coll Physicians Lond. 1994 Nov-Dec;28(6):538–540. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press