Stress and the legal profession: Explaining psychological distress, alcohol misuse, and job dissatisfaction in lawyers

Bergin, Adele (2011). Stress and the legal profession: Explaining psychological distress, alcohol misuse, and job dissatisfaction in lawyers Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Bergin, Adele
Thesis Title Stress and the legal profession: Explaining psychological distress, alcohol misuse, and job dissatisfaction in lawyers
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-10-12
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Associate Professor Nerina Jimmieson
Total pages 88
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary The purpose of this thesis was to explain previously reported high levels of psychological distress, alcohol misuse, and job dissatisfaction in lawyers. Five lawyer-relevant stressors (time pressure, emotional demands, billing targets, emphasis on profits, and competitiveness) as well three resources (control, pay, and praise), were examined, along with the lawyer-relevant individual difference variable of overcommitment. Main effects of all stressors, resources, and overcommitment on depression, anxiety, alcohol misuse, and job dissatisfaction were hypothesised, as well as a series of two-way and three-way interactions among overcommitment and the stressors and resources. Participants were 448 Australian lawyers who completed an online questionnaire distributed to them by their State or Territory Law Society. Results revealed significant relationships between the stressors, resources, and overcommitment on depression, anxiety, and job dissatisfaction, with the exception of billing targets, which was only predictive of job dissatisfaction. Main effects of time pressure and emotional demands on alcohol misuse were further detected. Significant two-way interactions revealed that the positive effects of time pressure and emotional demands on depression, anxiety, and job dissatisfaction were more marked for high overcommitted lawyers, as were the positive effects of low pay and low control on anxiety. Significant three-way interactions among overcommitment and certain lawyer-specific stressors and control and praise were detected, indicating that high overcommitted lawyers experienced more psychological distress in certain combinations of high stressors and low resources, compared to less overcommitted lawyers. Contrary to predictions, in the presence of high demands, high control and high praise significantly increased levels of psychological distress for high overcommitted lawyers. The implications of these results for the occupational-stress literature, as well as the practical applications for the legal profession, are discussed.
Keyword Stress (Psychology)
Legal profession

 
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Created: Fri, 08 Jun 2012, 16:05:57 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology