The Possibility Of Wellbeing: Preliminary Results From Surveys Of Australian Professional Legal Education Students

  • Stephen Tang Australian National University
  • Anneka Ferguson Australian National University

Abstract

Surveys of students in the Australian National University’s Legal Workshop Professional Legal Education (PLE) programme showed that students began and ended a core course with low levels of psychological distress.  In contrast to other studies, we found no evidence of elevated symptoms of depressive symptoms and no signs that this PLE programme may impair wellbeing.  While small increases in average stress symptoms were observed, this was associated with a more positive course experience.  Self-perceptions of professional identity and concurrent legal employment predicted lower distress, suggesting that wellbeing is enhanced by building meaningful connections between legal education and students’ wider identities.

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