Bartram, D. and Baldwin, D.
Letter: Suicide by veterinary surgeons
Veterinary Record, 162, (11), .
Full text not available from this repository.
David Bartram and David Baldwin comment: We are grateful for the opportunity to respond to Desmond Rice's comments on our hypothetical model to explain the risk of suicide in veterinary surgeons.
A recent meta-analysis of 44 studies demonstrated that emotional intelligence (EI) is positively associated with mental health (Schutte and others 2007). Although the methodologies of the meta-analysis and the studies on which it is based do not provide evidence regarding causality, it may be that the better perception, understanding, and management of emotion of individuals with higher EI make it less likely that they will experience mental health problems.
There is also a strong positive correlation between several dimensions of EI and academic achievement (for example, Parker and others 2004, Petrides and others 2004, Austin and others 2005), so it seems unlikely that the current veterinary undergraduate admissions procedure inevitably selects a high proportion of students with low EI. However, EI may have a place in veterinary education (Timmins 2006), both to improve the veterinary surgeon-client relationship and as a possible buffer against stress in the profession, and the subject is worthy of further research.
A number of the 'human givens' to which Rice refers are measured in the standard psychometric instruments used in our recent cross-sectional study of mental health and wellbeing in the UK veterinary profession (Bartram and Baldwin 2007). The questionnaire was mailed to a random stratified sample of 3200 veterinary surgeons in the UK and a response rate of over 56 per cent was achieved. We are grateful to all those who responded. Data analysis is underway and it is anticipated that preliminary results will be available by the autumn.
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