Work-related stress in American trial judges.

T. D. Eells and C. R. Showalter,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law 22(1): 71-83, 1994.
This study examines work-related stress among American trial judges using a relational model of stress, which emphasizes an individual's appraisals in a person-situation relationship. A representative sample of 88 judges completed three questionnaires addressing type and magnitude of specific work-related stressors, psychological stress symptoms, and psychosocial moderators of stress. Factor analysis revealed five types of stressors: case, litigating party, purposes and consequences of decisions, conflicts between professional and personal values, and seriousness of a criminal offense. The most stressful aspects of work relate to poorly prepared or disrespectful counsel, exercising judicial management and discretion, and highly emotional cases under public scrutiny. Correlational analyses show that stress is associated with cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms, including a possible adverse impact on decision-making capacity. Results are discussed in terms of the relational model of stress.