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Background: Physicians have an elevated risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts, which might be due to work-related factors. However, the hierarchical work positions as well as work-related health differ among resident and specialist physicians. As such, the correlates of suicide ideation may also vary between these two groups.

Methods: In the present study, work- and health-related factors and their association with suicidal thoughts among residents (n = 234) and specialists (n = 813) working at a university hospital were examined using cross-sectional data.

Results: Logistic regression analysis showed that having supportive meetings was associated with a lower level of suicide ideation among specialists (OR = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.50-0.94), while an empowering leadership was related to a lower level of suicide ideation among residents (OR = 0.55, 95% CI: 0.32-0.94). Having been harassed at work was associated with suicidal ideation among specialists (OR = 2.26, 95% CI: 1.31-3.91). In addition, sickness presenteeism and work disengagement were associated with suicide ideation in both groups of physicians.

Conclusions:These findings suggest that different workplace interventions are needed to prevent suicide ideation in residents and specialists.