PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai’s research featured in the Globe and Mail

Research co-authored by PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai was recently featured in an article published online by The Globe and Mail Newspaper. The article highlights the findings of a study conducted by Koltai with Sociology Professors Ronit Dinovitzer and Scott Schieman on the mental health of lawyers in the public and private sectors in both Canada and the USA. Jonathan recently completed and defended his dissertation on the Organizational Contexts of Interrole Conflict and Worker Well-Being. We have posted an excerpt of the article below.

MICHELLE MCQUIGGE | Oct. 27, 2017

New Canadian research suggests lawyers are more likely to experience mental health struggles the more successful they are in their field.

The study from the University of Toronto, slated for publication in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, compares two national surveys of thousands of lawyers in both Canada and the United States.

In both countries, researchers found a strong correlation between signs of depression and traditional markers of career success.

Lawyers holding down jobs at large firms in the private sector, widely considered to be the most prestigious roles, were most likely to experience depressive symptoms.

Researchers say the findings buck trends found in the general population, where career success is typically equated with fewer mental health risks….

“In the population we know … that groups that are better off in terms of income are also better off in terms of mental health. But if you zoom in to this specific subgroup of lawyers, that pattern is reversed,” Koltai said in a phone interview. “People working in environments with more income on average actually tend to experience more depressive symptoms, and that’s because of their higher levels of stress exposure.”

Koltai said depressive symptoms were less evident among lawyers working in public sector roles, which typically pay less than similar positions in the private sector. One of the major drivers, he said, is the lack of work-life balance typical among those in positions that demand long working hours.

Read the full article here.

Professor Ronit Dinovitzer and PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai featured in Canadian Lawyer Magazine

Associate Sociology Professor Ronit Dinovitzer and PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai were recently featured in the Canadian Lawyer Magazine discussing their research on mental health in the legal profession. The article highlights the research presented by Professor Dinovitzer and Koltai during a conference hosted by the Action Group on Access To Justice’s “Access to Justice Week.”  Together with co-author Professor Scott Schieman, Dinovitzer and Koltai recently published a paper in the March 2017 issue of The Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, on the topic of mental health amongst legal professionals titled The Status Health Paradox.

We have posted an excerpt of the Canadian Lawyer Magazine article below.

High-pressure law jobs linked to depression

Written By Aidan Macnab

The more lawyers get paid, the more likely they are to experience depression, dissatisfaction with their career choice and work-life balance conflict, according to research released this week.

In a presentation at the Action Group on Access To Justice’s Access to Justice Week, University of Toronto sociology professor Ronit Dinovitzer and PhD candidate Jonathan Koltai discussed their recent work and the imperative for the legal community to meet challenges it faces in mental health.

The sociologists said lawyers experience higher risk of mental illness and addiction. Private sector lawyers in big firms experience significantly more depression than those in the public sector and lower on the income scale. Stress, burnout and anxiety were reported as the most prevalent among lawyers, according to a Canadian Bar Association survey.

In a 2016 study, which surveyed 12,825 American lawyers, in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, 28 per cent of respondents suffered from depression, 19 per cent experienced anxiety and 20 per cent “screened positive for hazardous, harmful, and potentially alcohol-dependent drinking.”

The depression, stress, substance abuse and burnout that plague private-sector, big-firm lawyers with high salaries can be attributed to the hours they work, according to Dinovitzer and Koltai. The hours they work lead to work-life conflict.

“It’s probably not enough to tell people that they should go meditate more or do more yoga,” said Koltai. “The problem here doesn’t start with behaviours at the individual level. It has sources in the way work is organized from the top down, in the organizational climates that require or at least glorify extreme work hours and in those environments that provide very little opportunity for workers to balance responsibilities in their competing life domains.”

Koltai said that if those in the legal profession really want to improve in these areas, the answer will need to come from the top down, in the way work is organized at firms.

Read the full article here.

U of T at the ASA

This year, 22 faculty members and 25 graduate students from Sociology at the University of Toronto are presenting papers at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociology Association in Montreal. In addition to the people presenting papers, a number of our community are also participating as session organizers, discussants or journal editorial panel members. The meetings happen between August 12th and August 15th. We have listed the papers we’re presenting below in the order of their occurrence, with student presenters shown in italics. Note that some of the papers have unlisted co-authors from other universities. Please refer to the ASA Program for complete information.

Saturday, August 12th

Bill Magee, Optimistic Positivity and Pessimistic Negativity Among American Adults: Effects of Birth-Cohort, Age, Gender, and Race

Jaime Nikolaou, Teen Pregnancy and Doula Care: A Space for Feminist Praxis?

Andrew Nevin, Technological Tethering, Cohort Effects, and the Work-Family Interface

Andreea Mogosanu, Historical Change in Gender Differences in Mastery: The Role of Education and Employment

Ioana Sendroiu and Laura Upenieks, Gender ‘In Practice’: Rethinking the Use of Male Practice Players in NCAA Women’s Basketball

Emine Fidan Elcioglu, The State Effect at the Border: Avoiding Totalizing Theories of Political Power in Migration Studies

Paul Pritchard, A Bifurcated Welcome? Examining the Willingness to Include Seasonal Agricultural Workers in the Host Community

Yukiko Tanaka, Managing Risk, Pursuing Opportunities: Immigration, Citizenship, and Security in Canada

Gordon Brett, Feminist Theory and Embodied Cognition: Bridging the Disciplinary Gap

Mitch McGivor, Inequality in Higher Education: Student Debt, Social Background, and Labour Market Outcomes

Sarah Cappeliez, Wine Nerds and Pleasure-seekers: Understanding Wine Taste Formation and Practice

Katelin Albert, Negotiating State Policy in the Improvised Classroom: An Ethnographic Inquiry into Sexual Health Classrooms

Marie-Lise Drappon-Bisson, Tactical Reproduction in the Pro-Choice Movement in Northern Ireland: Alliance for Choice’s Path Towards Successful Tactics

Milos Brocic, Cultivating Conviction or Negotiating Nuance? Assessing the Impact of Associations on Ideological Polarization

Omar Faruque, Neoliberal Development, Privatizing Nature, and Subaltern Resistance in Bangladesh

Sunday, August 13th

Dan Silver, The Political Order of the City: Neighborhoods and Voting in Toronto, 1997-2014

Andreea Mogosanu and Laura Upenieks, Social Change and the Evolution of Gender Differences in Depression: An Age-Cohort Consideration

Markus Schafer, Religious Attendance Heterogamy and Partnership Quality in Later Life

Atsushi Narisada, Buffering-Resource or Status-Disconfirmation? How Socioeconomic Status Shapes the Relationship between Perceived Under-Reward and Distress

Josee Johnston, On (not) Knowing Where Your Food Comes From: Children, Meat, and Ethical Eating

Ann Mullen, Labored Meanings: Contemporary Artists and the Process and Problems of Producing Artistic Meaning

Lawrence Williams, Dilemmas: Where No Schema Has Gone Before

Patricia Landolt, How Does Multicultural Canada’s Ethnicizing Imperative Shape Latin American Political Incorporation?

Merin Oleschuk, Consuming the Family Meal: News Media Constructions of Home Cooking and Health

Sarah Shah, The Context of Birth Country Gender Inequality on Mental Health Outcomes of Intimate Partner Violence

Louise Birsell-Bauer, Precarious Professionals: Gender Relations in the Academic Profession and the Feminization of Employment Norms

Geoff Wodtke, Regression-based Adjustment for Time-varying Confounders

Monday, August 14th

Markus Schafer, The Role of Health in Late Life Social Inclusion and Exclusion

Kim Pernell, Institutionalized Meaning and Policymaking: Revisiting the Causes of American Financial Deregulation

Cynthia Guzman, Revisiting the Feminist Theory of the State

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Policing Race, Moral Panic and the Growth of Black Prisoners in Canada

David Pettinicchio, Beyond Employment Inequality: Wealth Disparities by Disability Status in Canada and the United States

Yangsook Kim, Good Care in the Elderly Care Sector of South Korea: Gendered Immigration and Ethnic Boundaries

Ioana Sendroiu and Ron Levi, Legality and Exclusion: Discrimination, Legal Cynicism and System Avoidance across the European Roma Experience

Lawrence Williams, Bounded Reflexivity: How Expectations Shape Careers

Irene Boeckmann, Contested Hegemony: Fatherhood Wage Effects across Two U.S. Birth Cohorts

Jennifer Chun and Cynthia Cranford, Becoming Homecare Workers: Chinese Immigrant Women in California’s Oakland Chinatown

Katelin Albert and Steve G. Hoffman, Undone Science and Canadian Health Research

Ronit Dinovitzer, The New Place of Corporate Law Firms in the Structuring of Elite Legal Careers

Melissa Milkie and Scott Schieman, Who Helps with the Homework? Inequity in Parenting Responsibilities and Relationship Quality among Employed Parents

Matthew Parbst, The Impact of Public Opinion on Policy in Cross-National Perspective

Tony Zhang, The Princelings in China: How Do They Benefit from their Red Parents?

Rania Salem, Structural Accommodations of Classic Patriarchy: Women and Workplace Gender Segregation in Qatar

Tuesday, August 15th

Patricia Louie and Blair Wheaton, Revisiting the Black-White Paradox in Mental Disorder in Three Cohorts of Black and White Americans

Jenna Valleriani, Breaking the law for the greater good? Core-stigmatized Organizations and Medical Cannabis Dispensaries in Canada

Martin Lukk, What Kind of Writing is Sociology? Literary Form and Theoretical Integration in the Human Sciences

Jerry Flores, Gender on the Run: Wanted Latinas in a southern California Barrio

Jean-Francois Nault, Determinants of Linguistic Retention: The Case of Ontario’s Francophone Official-Language Minorities

Luisa Farah Schwartzmann, Color Violence, Deadly Geographies and the Meanings of “Race” in Brazil

Jonathan Koltai and Scott Schieman, Financial Strain, Mastery, and Psychological Distress: A Comment on Spuriousness in the Stress Process