Does an Improved Experience of Law School Protect Students Against Depression, Anxiety and Stress? An Empirical Study of Wellbeing and the Law School Experience of LLB and JD Students

Sydney Law Review, Vol. 35, No. 2, 2013

U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 603

27 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2012 Last revised: 23 Jul 2013

Wendy Larcombe

Melbourne Law School

Letty Tumbaga

University of Melbourne

Ian Malkin

Melbourne Law School

Penelope Nicholson

Melbourne Law School

Orania Tokatlidis

University of Melbourne

Date Written: September 16, 2012

Abstract

Law students in Australia experience high rates of depression and anxiety. This article reports findings from an empirical study investigating the relation between law students’ levels of psychological distress and their experiences of law school. The study was undertaken at Melbourne Law School and the sample included students from both the LLB and JD programs. While Melbourne JD students expressed a significantly higher level of satisfaction with studying law, and their course experience, than Melbourne LLB students, there were no statistically significant differences in the levels of depression, anxiety and stress reported by students in each cohort. This finding suggests that overall course satisfaction does not have a direct effect on students’ levels of psychological distress. More particularly, it indicates that various program features that improve students’ experience of law school do not automatically result in improved levels of student wellbeing. In this way, the study offers new insight into the relationship between students’ experiences of law school and their levels of psychological distress.

Keywords: law students, law school, experience

JEL Classification: K00, I19, I29

Suggested Citation

Larcombe, Wendy and Tumbaga, Letty and Malkin, Ian and Nicholson, Penelope and Tokatlidis, Orania, Does an Improved Experience of Law School Protect Students Against Depression, Anxiety and Stress? An Empirical Study of Wellbeing and the Law School Experience of LLB and JD Students (September 16, 2012). Sydney Law Review, Vol. 35, No. 2, 2013; U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 603. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2147547 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2147547

Wendy Larcombe (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Letty Tumbaga

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053
Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia

Ian Malkin

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Penelope Nicholson

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Orania Tokatlidis

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053
Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia

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