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Werz, Janina; Büchner, Vanessa L. (2017): The psychologist’s troubled background. Major related life experiences of psychology and law students. In: Psychology Teaching Review, Vol. 23, No. 2: pp. 42-50
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Abstract

This study explores major-related life experiences (MRLE) of psychology and law students to examine the stereotype of the wounded psychology student. Previous studies have shown that psychology students know people with mental disorders and are seeking treatment themselves. However, these studies do not allow drawing conclusions about the direction of these effects or the relationships’ emotional closeness. As a consequence, the present, highly powered (n = 615) study examined whether psychology students and their close social environment experience more MRLE prior to the beginning of their university education than law students and a control group. Results show that especially the very close social environment of psychology students experienced more MRLE than the respective environment of law students, supporting the common assumption that psychologists themselves have a troubled past. This study contributes substantially to a better understanding of students’ personal background and could help improve teaching quality by considering these effects.