Law students are the biggest boozers, new research suggests

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By Emily Hinkley on

Findings shine spotlight on wellbeing and substance misuse across range of subjects

A new study has suggested law students are the biggest drinkers.

The research comes from a survey conducted by universities Ulster and Atlantic Technological. The duo surveyed 1,829 first-year students in September 2019, shortly after they had arrived on campus.

Law students showed the highest levels of alcohol misuse, with 16.6% reporting issues in the past 12 months. Business students weren’t far behind, coming in second with 15.3%.

The lowest rates of alcohol abuse were reported in life and health sciences students which averaged around 7.8%, and were as low as 6.5% in nursing students.

The study is part of the World Mental Health International College Student Initiative and considered a range of mental health markers including depression social anxiety and substance misuse across different subjects.

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The authors noted that their findings may be influenced by the high-achieving personality types drawn to the subject. “High levels of neuroticism have been found in law and psychology students,” they explained. “These factors may not only attract individuals towards specific degrees but also predispose them to poorer mental wellbeing.”

The different subject areas were grouped into four broader faculty categories which included business; arts, humanities and social sciences; life and health sciences; and computing, engineering and the built environment. Law students made up 84 of the students surveyed.

This study is not the first to link law degrees with mental health issues.An Australian study suggested that as many as 58% of law students surveyed had “significantly higher levels of psychological distress”.

More recently, exclusive Legal Cheek research showed that training contract applications and exams were among top sources of stress for law students.

Struggling with the stress of university or work? Contact LawCare via its helpline or live chat

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