Original Research

Well-being of judges: A review of quantitative and qualitative studies

Elna Rossouw, Sebastiaan Rothmann
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 46 | a1759 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v46i0.1759 | © 2020 Elna Rossouw, Sebastiaan Rothmann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 November 2019 | Published: 29 April 2020

About the author(s)

Elna Rossouw, Optentia Research Focus Area, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Sebastiaan Rothmann, Optentia Research Focus Area, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


Orientation: Research regarding the well-being of judges is essential given the effects thereof on their work and contextual performance.

Research purpose: This study aimed to review qualitative and quantitative empirical studies on the well-being of judges. Because of the limited availability of empirical studies on this topic, research in only five countries was included.

Motivation for the study: The state of judges’ well-being may affect, among others, their decision-making ability and their decorum in court.

Research approach/design and method: A scoping review was used to synthesise research evidence on the well-being of judges. Relevant literature was searched using computerised databases, covering the period from January 2008 to May 2018. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. Using the ATLAS.ti 8 programme for qualitative data analysis, the data were extracted from 11 articles.

Main findings: A variety of job demands, such as judges’ heavy workloads and time constraints, emotional demands of their work, negative work–home interference and their safety concerns, had a negative effect on their well-being. Despite the stressors and occupational demands to which judges were subjected, some judges experienced high levels of well-being because of, inter alia, the autonomy they had over certain aspects of their work, the nature of their work and positive relationships with their colleagues.

Practical/managerial implications: Interventions should be employed to address stressors and job demands, as well as job resources that affect judges’ well-being.

Contribution/value-add: This study adds to scientific knowledge vis-à-vis the well-being of judges.


flourishing; judges; well-being; functioning; feeling.


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