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The Role of Legal Education in Producing Psychological Distress among Law Students and Lawyers

G. Andrew H. Benjamin, Alfred Kaszniak, Bruce Sales and Stephen B. Shanfield
American Bar Foundation Research Journal
Vol. 11, No. 2 (Spring, 1986), pp. 225-252
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Bar Foundation
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/828178
Page Count: 28
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The Role of Legal Education in Producing Psychological Distress among Law Students and Lawyers
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Abstract

The anecdotal literature suggests that the process of legal education impairs the maintenance of emotional well-being in law students. The purpose of this article is to present the results of a cross-sequential research design that empirically assessed the validity of this hypothesis. Data were collected, using four standardized self-report instruments (Brief Symptom Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist, and Hassle Scale) on subjects before and during law school and after graduation. Before law school, subjects expressed psychopathological symptom responses that were similar to the normal population. Yet during law school and after graduation symptom levels were significantly elevated. The implications of these results are presented.

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