Explaining psychological distress in the legal profession: the role of overcommitment

Bergin, Adele J. and Jimmieson, Nerina L. (2013) Explaining psychological distress in the legal profession: the role of overcommitment. International Journal of Stress Management, 20 2: 134-161. doi:10.1037/a0032557

Author Bergin, Adele J.
Jimmieson, Nerina L.
Title Explaining psychological distress in the legal profession: the role of overcommitment
Journal name International Journal of Stress Management   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1072-5245
Publication date 2013-05-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1037/a0032557
Volume 20
Issue 2
Start page 134
End page 161
Total pages 28
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher American Psychological Association
Language eng
Abstract The purpose of this study was to explain previously reported high levels of psychological distress in lawyers. General demands (i.e., time pressure and emotional demands) and lawyer demands (i.e., emphasis on profits and competitiveness), as well as three resources (i.e., control, pay, and praise) were examined, along with the moderating role of overcommitment. Participants included 448 Australian lawyers who completed an online questionnaire distributed to them by their state or territory law society. Results revealed significant direct relationships between the demands, resources, and overcommitment on depression and anxiety. Significant two-way interactions indicated that the positive relationship of general demands on depression and anxiety were more marked for high overcommitted lawyers, as was the negative relationship of pay on anxiety. Contrary to predictions for the three-way interaction, in the presence of high general demands, there was a trend to suggest that high control was positively related to psychological distress for high overcommitted lawyers. The theoretical and practical implications of these results, including the importance of identifying overcommitted lawyers and developing preventive interventions to reduce overcommitment prior to the development of strain, are discussed.
Keyword Job demand-resources model
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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