Assessment of the relationship between stress and performance in candidates for the Brazilian Bar Association examination

Fernando E. M. José Claudia W. Golbert Laureane H. A. José Emmanuelle T. Dallegrave Christian H. Kristensen About the authors

Abstract

Objective:

This study investigated stress and performance levels in candidates for the Brazilian Bar Association examination (Exame da Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil) in Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil.

Methods:

The following instruments were used: A sociodemographic data sheet, Lipp's Stress Symptom Inventory for Adults, the Ways of Coping Scale, the Adult Self-Report Scale, and the Self-Report Questionnaire. The final sample comprised 117 candidates, aged from 18 to 59 years (mean = 29.7, standard deviation = 7.8), 76 women (65%) and 41 men (35%).

Results:

In the first phase of the examination, 67 candidates were approved (57.3%), but there was no significant difference in terms of stress: stress symptoms were present in 76.1% of the successful candidates and 62% of the unsuccessful candidates; (χ2 (1) = 2.09; p = 0.148). In terms of stress phases, 70.6% of the successful candidates (n = 36) were in the resistance phase and 78.4% of these had psychological symptoms. The mean age of successful candidates (28.2 years) was lower than that of unsuccessful candidates (31.7 years); (t (115) = −2.48; p = 0.015). Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms were detected in 18 successful candidates (26.9%) and 6 unsuccessful candidates (12.2%); (χ2 (1) = 2.85; p = 0.091).

Conclusions:

Candidates who were successful in the first phase of the Brazilian Bar Association examination tended to be younger and scored higher for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, but their stress levels did not differ from those of unsuccessful candidates.

Keywords:
Stress; evaluation; performance; Brazilian Bar Association examination

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