Research co-authored by PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai was recently featured in an article published online by The Globe and Mail Newspaper. The article highlights the findings of a study conducted by Koltai with Sociology Professors Ronit Dinovitzer and Scott Schieman on the mental health of lawyers in the public and private sectors in both Canada and the USA. Jonathan recently completed and defended his dissertation on the Organizational Contexts of Interrole Conflict and Worker Well-Being. We have posted an excerpt of the article below.
Lawyers more likely to experience mental health problems the more successful they are: study
MICHELLE MCQUIGGE | Oct. 27, 2017
New Canadian research suggests lawyers are more likely to experience mental health struggles the more successful they are in their field.
The study from the University of Toronto, slated for publication in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, compares two national surveys of thousands of lawyers in both Canada and the United States.
In both countries, researchers found a strong correlation between signs of depression and traditional markers of career success.
Lawyers holding down jobs at large firms in the private sector, widely considered to be the most prestigious roles, were most likely to experience depressive symptoms.
Researchers say the findings buck trends found in the general population, where career success is typically equated with fewer mental health risks....
"In the population we know ... that groups that are better off in terms of income are also better off in terms of mental health. But if you zoom in to this specific subgroup of lawyers, that pattern is reversed," Koltai said in a phone interview. "People working in environments with more income on average actually tend to experience more depressive symptoms, and that's because of their higher levels of stress exposure."
Koltai said depressive symptoms were less evident among lawyers working in public sector roles, which typically pay less than similar positions in the private sector. One of the major drivers, he said, is the lack of work-life balance typical among those in positions that demand long working hours.