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
27 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2012 Last revised: 23 Jul 2013
Date Written: September 16, 2012
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: Suggested Citation