Recent PhD Jonathan Koltai, Professor Ronit Dinovitzer, and Professor Scott Schieman on Well-Being in the Legal Profession

June 1, 2018 by Nico Golinski

PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai, Professor Ronit Dinovitzer, and Professor Scott Schieman published an article in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Their article examines the differences in mental health between high and low-status lawyers. They also draw comparisons across organizational contexts and control for income level, finding that high-status lawyers report higher levels of depression than their lower status counterparts.

Jonathan Koltai received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. He is currently a postdoctoral  Researcher in Social Epidemiology at Bocconi University. The research for his dissertation examines organizational contexts of inter-role conflict and worker well-being. Ronit Dinovitzer is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. In her research, she draws together analyses of the professions with research in social policy, including the social organization of lawyers, the role of labor markets, and the effects of culture on professional work. Scott Schieman is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and his research focuses on health, medicine, work, stratification, and the sociology of religion.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Koltai, Jonathan, Ronit Dinovitzer, and Scott Schieman. 2018. "The Status-Health Paradox: Organizational Context, Stress Exposure, and Well-Being in the Legal Profession." Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 59(1):20-37.

Prior research evaluates the health effects of higher status attainment by analyzing highly similar individuals whose circumstances differ after some experience a “status boost.” Advancing that research, we assess health differences across organizational contexts among two national samples of lawyers who were admitted to the bar in the same year in their respective countries. We find that higher-status lawyers in large firms report more depression than lower-status lawyers, poorer health in the American survey, and no health advantage in Canada. Adjusting for income exacerbates these patterns—were it not for their higher incomes, large-firm lawyers would have a greater health disadvantage. Last, we identify two stressors in the legal profession, overwork and work–life conflict, that are more prevalent in the private sector and increase with firm size. Adjusting for these stressors explains well-being differences across organizational contexts. This study documents the role of countervailing mechanisms in health inequality research.

Read the full article here.