Occupational stress and burnout of lawyers

J Occup Health. 2009;51(5):443-50. doi: 10.1539/joh.l8179. Epub 2009 Jul 10.


Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the associations between burnout and occupational stress measured by demand-control support (DCS) and effort-reward imbalance (ERI) models among lawyers.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 180 lawyers from 26 law firms in the Taipei Bar. The Chinese version of Karasek's job content questionnaire (C-JCQ) and the Chinese version of Siegrist's ERI questionnaire (C-ERI) were used to measure occupational stress, and the Chinese version of the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (C-CBI) questionnaire was used to measure personal, work-related and client-related burnout. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the associations between burnout and lawyers' occupational stress and job specialty adjusting for age, gender, marital status, work experience, working hours per day, firm size and the significant occupational stress of each model for the other.

Results: Lawyers reported relatively higher scores in job control, psychological demands and effort, and high prevalence of self-perceived work stress. Litigious lawyers had higher decision authority and workplace social support, higher work-related burnout and higher client-related burnout than non-litigious lawyers. Personal burnout and work-related burnout were associated with high psychological demands, effort, and effort-reward ratio.

Conclusions: High occupational stress was associated with high levels of personal and work-related burnout among lawyers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional / etiology
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lawyers / psychology*
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Taiwan / epidemiology