Female lawyers are at higher risk of work-related stress and alcohol misuse

Health risks of lawyers impacted by work-related factors are distinct upon both genders, with female lawyers more stressed and likely to engage in alcohol misuse, a study found.

Published in PLOS One, the findings of an American research team consisting of Justin Anker and Patrick Krill of the University of Minnesota involved close to 3,000 participants, with more female lawyers than males.

The lawyers recruited were selected from the California Lawyers Association and D.C. Bar.

The study’s results indicated that female lawyers were at a higher chance of exhibiting severe depression, anxiety, stress, and alcohol misuse, than male lawyers.

According to the study: “Overcommitment and permissiveness toward alcohol at work were associated with the highest likelihood of stress and risky drinking (relative to all other predictors) for both men and women. However, women and men differed with respect to predictors of leaving the profession due to stress or mental health.”

“For women, work-family conflict was associated with the highest likelihood of leaving, while overcommitment was the number one predictor of leaving for men.”

The study also uncovered that younger attorneys were 2 to 4 times more likely than their older counterparts to experience severe stress in their capacities.

“Our findings raise meaningful concerns about the stress levels of both men and women and the possible impact of that stress on the delivery of effective legal services,” Anker and Krill concluded in their journal report.

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