4
Work's Effects on Children and Adolescents

ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT AND THE ROLE OF WORK

Most people have their first experiences in the labor force during their teenage years. It is important, therefore, to consider how employment contributes to the developmental agenda of adolescence and to examine how experiences in the labor force can aid or hinder young people's emotional, intellectual, and physical development, as well as their socioeconomic attainments in life. To answer these questions requires an understanding of the nature of adolescent development in modern society.

Most experts agree that adolescence occupies a crucial role in contemporary human development for several interrelated reasons. First, adolescence is a period of potentially great malleability, during which experiences in the family, school, and other settings influence the individual's long-term development: To put it most succinctly, the adolescent experience matters for future performance. Second, adolescence is a period of tremendous variability. It is the time when people's life courses begin to diverge in important ways, in part because modern society allows for much diversity and flexibility during those years. Finally, adolescence is an especially important formative period, during which many developmental trajectories be-



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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States 4 Work's Effects on Children and Adolescents ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT AND THE ROLE OF WORK Most people have their first experiences in the labor force during their teenage years. It is important, therefore, to consider how employment contributes to the developmental agenda of adolescence and to examine how experiences in the labor force can aid or hinder young people's emotional, intellectual, and physical development, as well as their socioeconomic attainments in life. To answer these questions requires an understanding of the nature of adolescent development in modern society. Most experts agree that adolescence occupies a crucial role in contemporary human development for several interrelated reasons. First, adolescence is a period of potentially great malleability, during which experiences in the family, school, and other settings influence the individual's long-term development: To put it most succinctly, the adolescent experience matters for future performance. Second, adolescence is a period of tremendous variability. It is the time when people's life courses begin to diverge in important ways, in part because modern society allows for much diversity and flexibility during those years. Finally, adolescence is an especially important formative period, during which many developmental trajectories be-

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States come established and increasingly difficult to alter. Together, the malleable, variable, and formative natures of adolescence make it crucial that schools and other institutions that exert influence over youngsters during this period are structured in ways that optimize the youngsters' chances to have healthy and happy adolescences and to become successful adults. Generally speaking, a major part of development during adolescence revolves around preparation for the family, work, and citizenship roles of adulthood. Success in each of these domains depends, at the most fundamental level, on the development of certain personal competencies (including the capacity for self-reliance and responsible behavior), interpersonal competencies (including the capacity to form and maintain satisfying relationships with others), and social competencies (including the capacity to function as a member of a broader community). Adolescence is the period during which these capabilities both develop and solidify. Work experience, like any other experience, can be evaluated in terms of the degree to which, and the ways in which, it helps young people become personally, interpersonally, and socially mature. The development of these psychosocial competencies cannot be viewed outside the broader context in which a young person or a cohort of young people comes of age. Contextual circumstances shape society's definitions of personal, interpersonal, and social competence. Thus, the context in which adolescents develop not only establishes the pathways through which maturity is pursued, but dictates the very competencies that define maturity. Because the components of "competent" adulthood in the twenty-first century will differ from what they were a century ago, the preparation today's adolescents need for successful adulthood is vastly different from that needed by their great-great-grandparents. In essence, the role of work in the young person's transition to adulthood depends not only on the nature of adolescence—on what adolescents need to develop—but also on the nature of adulthood and on what society expects its adult members to be able to do. Regulations and guidelines concerning young people's participation in the labor force therefore require periodic reexamination in light of the changed, and changing, nature of adolescence and the transition to adulthood. In more concrete terms, what is the role of work in the development of personal, interpersonal, and social maturity,

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States given the conditions that define adolescence and adulthood in today's society? To understand the role of work in the lives of adolescents requires answers to questions about the nature of the work that youngsters perform; the characteristics and conditions of the settings in which they labor; the amount of time they devote to their jobs; and the ways in which experiences at work complement or compete with the other demands of the adolescent years (Finch et al., 1997). THE NATURE OF WORK BY YOUNG PEOPLE Special features of working in adolescence need to be taken into account in considering its consequences for development during this phase of life. In comparison with work by adults, work by young people tends to be more discretionary (i.e., not financially essential), part-time rather than full-time, and unstable, as youngsters move in and out of the labor force in response to changes in the needs of employers, labor market conditions, and shifting circumstances in other arenas of their lives. The number of hours spent working and the scheduling of those hours are apt to change frequently. High school students are more available for employment during the summer (Manning, 1990) and vacation periods than during the regular school year and more during the weekends than weekdays. Nevertheless, about 80 percent of all students work for pay during the school year at some time during their high school years. In addition to these temporal dimensions of work, particular attributes of work experience may assume special importance for youth. Such attributes include, for example, the extent to which employment enables adolescents to apply what they learn in school or presents them with other learning opportunities; the ways in which their earnings are used; the degree of stressfulness of the work; and the quality of the young people's relationships with their supervisors or other adults in the workplace. Today, the types of jobs that most adolescents in the United States hold are disconnected from what is taught in school, do not systematically teach the job skills necessary for advancement, and provide little meaningful interaction with adult supervisors (Greenberger and Steinberg, 1986). Relatively little systematic research has addressed the quality of young people's jobs. Through the high school years, adolescents move from informal work, such as babysitting, yard work, and shov-

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States eling snow, to more formal employment, particularly in fast-food and other retail and service industries, and become more dispersed across job categories. They are also more likely to have supervisory responsibilities and receive more training from their employers as they grow older (Mortimer et al., 1994). CONSEQUENCES OF WORKING A challenge associated with almost all research on the consequences of working for young people is that of selection effects. That is, young people who work may be different before they began to work than those who do not work and those who work long hours may be different than those who work fewer hours. For example, adolescents who are not interested in school may choose to work longer hours than those who enjoy school. Other differences among the groups may include their past academic performance, their career goals, their families' incomes, their parents' education levels, their motivation, and a host of other factors that are often not explicitly measured. These differences make it extremely difficult to ascertain whether working itself causes any particular outcome (either positive or negative) or whether those outcomes might have occurred whether or not the young people engaged in work. Because researchers cannot randomly assign young people to the workplace, the committee relied on a careful review of studies that follow young people over time (longitudinal studies) and that take account of the pre-existing differences among youngsters who engage in various work patterns (statistically controlling for differences). These studies measure the statistical correlation between working and various outcomes, that is, the degree to which the occurrence of certain outcomes varies with different work patterns, in the context of pre-existing differences. Although no direct causal link between work and outcomes can be made from correlational studies, a pattern of consistent findings from studies with good statistical controls may be the best information available. Without random assignment, however, selection effects must be considered as an alternative interpretation of results. Data from several well-designed, nationally representative longitudinal surveys are used in many of the studies discussed below. These include the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY),

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States the National Educational Longitudinal Survey (NELS), High School and Beyond, and the National Youth Survey (see Appendix A for more information about these surveys). Studies that use data from surveys of regional samples and cross-sectional studies (with data from one point in time) are also discussed when they complement the national longitudinal studies and when they cover information not available in the national studies. Examples of cross-sectional studies are Monitoring the Future, which surveys a national sample of high school seniors annually, and first-year data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.1 Regional studies include the Youth Development Study, which follows a random sample of students who were in the 9th grade in 1988 in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a study by Steinberg and colleagues (1993), which followed a sample of students from nine high schools in Wisconsin and northern California for 1 year. A possible shortcoming in regional studies is that conclusions based on these samples may not be generalizable to the national population. (For a good description of other possible methodological shortcomings in many of the studies discussed below, see Ruhm, 1997:Table 1.) Research on the effects of working on adolescents has focused on a variety of outcomes, including education, vocation, relationships, personal development, and problem behaviors. Although these studies look at a wide variety of consequences, they tend to treat work rather unidimensionally. Most of the studies examine the effects of work intensity, generally measured by average hours of work per week during the school year. Only a few studies try to take into account variations in work intensity over time. No studies on the consequences of work have considered actual work schedules, such as the hours worked on school days versus nonschool days or start and stop times on school days. These types of details are more difficult to collect, given the variability of young people's work schedules, and they are not available in the datasets used to study work outcomes. 1   Second-year data from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health have been collected, but analyses of them were not available at the time of this report. As the name of the study implies, it will be a source of longitudinal data.

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States Educational Outcomes Young people who combine school and work must meet the requirements of two potentially demanding social roles. As hours of employment increase, adolescents may experience difficulties in juggling the demands of work and school, as well as other activities. Teachers often note that working students are tired in class and do not have time to do homework; in one study, teachers' negative attitudes toward employed students increased with the length of their teaching experience (Bills et al., 1995). If students are employed, the demands—and rewards—of work may draw them away from school, decreasing their school attendance and increasing the likelihood that they will drop out altogether. This outcome would appear to be much more likely if the hours of work are long. Based on data from the National Education Longitudinal Survey, which followed students who were in 8th grade in 1988, Schoenhals and colleagues (1997) found that the number of hours worked had a statistically positive relationship to absences from school in the 10th grade—after controlling for background and demographic variables, school type, curriculum, prior academic performance, prior work experience, and early school behavior and misbehavior—especially among those who worked more than 30 hours per week. In the High School and Beyond Survey, which tracked a large representative panel of individuals who were high school sophomores in public school in 1980, Chaplin and Hannaway (1996) found that working more than 14 hours per week in the sophomore year (1980) was negatively related to school enrollment 2 and 4 years later, after accounting for demographic, background, family, and school characteristics. In the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, which followed a large representative panel of young people who were between 16 and 19 years old in 1979, Carr and colleagues (1996) found that working more hours per week during high school was associated with lower levels of educational attainment achieved for both males and females by the age of 28 to 31. The number of weeks worked in high school was also associated with decreased educational attainment for males. These associations remained after controlling for a large number of individual and family differences. Similarly, Mihalic and Elliot (1997) found that working for more than 1 year during high school was associated with lower educational aspirations. Marsh (1991), using data from

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States the High School and Beyond surveys, found that the number of hours worked during the sophomore year of school was significantly and positively related to dropping out of school, even after background variables and sophomore school performance and motivation variables were controlled for: That is, the more hours worked during the sophomore year, the greater the likelihood of dropping out of school. In contrast, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, Carr et al. (1996) found no significant influence of hours of work during high school on the probability of completing high school. However, Carr et al. (1996) did not confine their analysis to hours of work during the sophomore year as did Marsh (1991). It is possible that heavy investment in work early in high school has a different effect than work during a student's junior or senior year. At the same time, however, learning to maintain an appropriate balance between school and work, by limiting work hours so that work does not unduly interfere with educational pursuits, might foster continuance in school. If students limit their work hours, the monetary and other benefits of employment may be sustained without disrupting their roles as students. Furthermore, since most young people who go to college (or pursue other kinds of post-secondary education) support themselves, at least partially, while going to college, learning to balance school and work earlier, while still in high school, could be beneficial with respect to higher educational attainment. Supporting this line of reasoning, Tienda and Ahituv (1996), using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, report that students who have worked the previous year are less likely to quit school between the ages of 17 and 19 than are those who did not work. However, the extent to which youngsters remain in school decreased as the average weekly hours of work rose, after controlling for family background, scholastic aptitude, other background and demographic variables, and previous work experience. Similarly, D'Amico's (1984) analysis of data from the same survey showed that employment at low intensity (defined as fewer than 20 hours per week) was associated with lower school dropout rates among 11th graders. Among boys in the Youth Development Study, one particular pattern of participation in the labor force during high school proved to be especially salutary: nearly continuous employment limited, on

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States average, to 20 hours a week or less. The boys who followed this pattern were found to have undertaken the most months of post-secondary schooling (Mortimer and Johnson, 1998) during the years following high school. Males who worked at higher levels of intensity (more than 20 hours per week on average), as well as those who had more limited work experience (not working at all during high school or working for only short periods), had less postsecondary educational attainment. These differences were not explained by apparent selection factors. A similar pattern was observed among females, but was accounted for by earlier differences in educational motivation and performance. There may be ethnic, racial, social class, and sex differences in these effects. Steel (1991) analyzed data from the NLSY and found that the generally positive effect of high school employment (at ages 17 and 18) on enrollment in an educational institution 2 years later is conditioned by race, sex, and the time spent working. Among white youth, being employed had a positive effect on enrollment. However, this positive relationship was mitigated by hours of work: for each additional hour worked during high school, future school enrollment dropped. This negative effect was even more pronounced among black youth. Carr and colleagues (1996), also using NLSY data, found that as hours of employment in high school increased, the likelihood of entering college and of completing college were reduced, after taking into account demographic and background variables, family differences, school aptitude, and educational expectations. They found this effect on educational attainment persisted up to a decade after high school completion. Ruhm's (1997) analysis of NLSY data found a similar effect for girls. In general, this evidence suggests that low-intensity employment may support post-secondary educational outcomes while high-intensity employment may hinder them. These studies consistently find that as hours of work per week during high school increase, decreases are seen in the amount of future education. Although these studies statistically control for many pre-existing differences among students who work at high and low intensity, as noted above, without random assignment of students to various work patterns, it cannot be proved that high-intensity work decreases educational attainment. It is possible that unobserved differences among students are responsible for both their decisions about work intensity and education. Nevertheless, the preponderance of evidence suggests a link

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States between high-intensity work in high school and lowered eventual educational attainment. Although there is much concern about whether working lowers students' academic performance, the evidence with respect to this outcome is inconsistent. Some well-designed longitudinal studies report negative effects of employment, or hours of work, on grades (Marsh, 1991; Mortimer and Finch, 1986). Others show no significant effects (Mihalic and Elliot, 1997; Mortimer and Johnson, 1998; Mortimer et al., 1996; Schoenhals et al., 1977). Parents also have reported that their children's work has not affected their grades (Phillips and Sandstrom, 1990). Steinberg and colleagues' (1993) longitudinal assessment of change in grade-point average, considered as an outcome of employment, yielded mixed findings. Students who worked at low intensity (defined as 1–20 hours per week) at the outset of the study and increased their hours to more than 20 per week had lower grades at the end of a 1-year interval than students who worked at low intensity and left the work force during this period. Among students who worked more than 20 hours at the outset of the study, those who stopped working increased their level of school engagement. The results of this study cannot be generalized as the sample was not representative, but they do suggest the need for researchers to examine the effects of patterns of work intensity over time. It is important to note that the dividing point of 20 hours of work per week is not based on research results; rather, most researchers have adopted that number as a reasonable marker between ''low-intensity" and "high-intensity" employment. Given an average school week of about 30 hours, students who work 20 hours per week during the school year have the equivalent of a 50-hour work week. Surveys often collect hours worked in 5-or 10-hour groups, precluding researchers from examining hours of work as a continuous variable. Furthermore, the number of hours worked per week does not take account of when those hours are worked, either on what days of the week or what times of the day, both of which may affect the effects of work on school outcomes. It is plausible to assume that the motivational context and social meanings of employment influence its effects on academic performance. For example, Marsh (1991) and Ruscoe and colleagues (1996) report that employment has a beneficial effect on grades when the workers are using their earnings to save for college. (In the

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States Youth Development Study, almost one-half of the employed seniors were saving at least part of their earnings for their future educational expenses [Call, 1996a].) If working is associated with higher grades under certain conditions that are under the students' control (such as the saving of earnings for college or the limiting of work's intensity), the effects of employment could well be due to selection. That is, the students' motivation to attend college or their concern about having sufficient time for their school work would likely encourage them to limit their hours of work and would explain any positive associations between paid work and achievement. It may seem paradoxical that working does not have a more consistent effect on academic performance. Two recent studies report that neither employment status nor work intensity influences the amount of time spent doing homework (Mortimer et al., 1996; Schoenhals et al., 1997). Steinberg and Cauffman (1995) suggest that because the national average for time spent on homework is so low (fewer than 4 hours per week), employment is unlikely to diminish students' already very modest involvement in this activity. Teachers may also lighten homework assignments if they know about their students' work schedules. For the inconsistent findings with respect to work's effect on grades, there is some evidence that employed students may select undemanding courses so as to maintain high grade-point averages despite their jobs (Steinberg and Cauffman, 1995). Very little attention has been given to the quality of students' jobs (in contrast to the intensity of their work) as a factor influencing their educational performance and attainment. However, Barling and colleagues (1995) report that the amount of time spent doing homework does not decline with hours of work when adolescents report using skills to a great extent in their jobs and having a very clear understanding of their roles as workers. When jobs entail little use of skills or clarity of roles, the amount of time spent studying declines with increases in the number of hours worked. (This cross-sectional study did not enable controls for prior experiences of the students that might have accounted for their having different job types.) There is some emerging evidence from school-to-work programs that integration of school-based and work-based learning may help to overcome some of the negative effects on educational attainment

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States associated with working while in school. For example, several youth apprenticeship demonstration projects reported that large proportions of participants enrolled in post-secondary education (Kopp and Kazis, with Churchill, no date), a surprising result because the target group had been non-college bound high school students. Some school-to-work sites have also reported this result, along with higher grades and improved post-graduate employment. (For examples, see the National School-to-Work Office Web site: http://www.stw.ed.gov.) These results must be treated with caution because they are usually based on high school seniors' reports of their post-graduation intentions rather than follow-up surveys and because they seldom include control groups or comparison groups, but they do suggest the reasonable hypotheses that youth apprenticeship and other aspects of school-to-work would not reduce the likelihood of high school graduates enrolling in post-secondary education. One report based on post-graduation follow-up interviews indicated that three-fourths of graduates remained enrolled in post-secondary education in the first year after graduation and more then two-thirds remained enrolled 2 years later. It also found rather high levels of career directedness 1 and 2 years after graduation, suggesting that youth apprenticeship can counteract the tendency of youth without college degrees to "flounder" during their first few years in the labor market (Hamilton and Hamilton, 1997). One of the most carefully designed studies examined youth apprentices in printing in Wisconsin. Orr (1998) found that youth apprentices achieved higher grades, had relatively fewer absences, reported clearer career goals, and reported more hours of employment and higher earnings 6–8 months after graduation. Orr's comparison group were students enrolled in printing courses in conventional vocational education, including a few with cooperative education placements, as well as youth apprentices' classmates who were enrolled in the general course of study (i.e., neither college preparatory nor vocational). In contrast with reports on other youth apprenticeship programs, Wisconsin printing graduates were less likely than comparison graduates to enroll in higher education, largely because nearly all were employed in printing and in the same firm where they received their training.

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States negative association with the time youngsters spent watching television during the 10th grade: that is, as hours of work increased, time spent watching television decreased. If watching television—which entails relatively little challenge, low demand, and usually little educational benefit—is the activity mainly sacrificed by employment, it could account for the null findings regarding the effects of working on the time youngsters spend doing homework (Mortimer and Johnson, 1998; Mortimer et al., 1996; Schoenhals et al., 1997). However, Bachman and Schulenberg (1993) report that hours of sleep significantly decline as seniors' hours of work increase. The investigators also report that those working longer hours are less likely to eat breakfast. They are also less likely to exercise vigorously if they work up to 25 hours per week, after which exercising increases. Carskadon and colleagues have similarly found a reduction in sleep and increased daytime sleepiness among high school students who work; the effects increase as the numbers of hours worked increase (Carskadon, 1990; Carskadon et al., 1989). Because the quality of adult work has been found to have substantial consequences for adult psychological functioning (Baker and Green, 1991; Kohn et al., 1983; Mortimer et al., 1986), some researchers have studied whether adolescent psychological functioning is similarly responsive to the quality of work. Young workers may be exposed to job-related stressors, especially if they are required to take on adult responsibilities when their coping skills are not yet adequate (Greenberger, 1988). Moreover, combining school and work may not be easy; adolescents generally perceive it as stressful, and increasingly so, as they progress through high school (Mortimer et al., 1994). This is especially the case for those boys who work nearly continuously, at high levels of intensity, during high school (Mortimer and Johnson, 1998). In an analysis of data from the first year of the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, Resnick and colleagues (1997) found that working more than 20 hours per week during the school year was associated with emotional distress (defined as physical or emotional symptoms of distress as reported by the young people themselves or by their parents). There is evidence that the quality of youngsters' work does, in fact, significantly affect their mental health. In the Youth Development Study, opportunities for advancement and compatibility between school and work for boys and good pay for girls promoted a sense of self-efficacy over time (Finch et al., 1991). Boys' sense of

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States efficacy increased when their supervisors included them in discussions about work tasks and did not subject them to close supervision; girls' sense of efficacy increased when they were provided with early opportunities at work to be helpful to others (Call, 1996a; Call et al., 1995). Among males, job stressors (e.g., time pressure, overload) and early decision-making autonomy on the job heightened their distress, while the acquisition of useful skills diminished their depressed moods (Shanahan, 1992; Shanahan et al., 1991). Among females, work stress and responsibility for things outside their control were related to an increase in depressed moods (Shanahan et al., 1991) and a decrease in efficacy (Finch et al., 1991). There is further evidence from the Youth Development Study that the quality of work during high school has continued implications for personal outcomes (e.g., for modes of coping with problems at work, well-being, and depressed mood) 4 years following high school. Moreover, the quality of the work experience may alter the effects of work hours. That is, when the work is of high quality, the potential negative effects of working long hours on personal development may be buffered. Thus, in a cross-sectional study of 10th-through 12th-grade urban white Canadians, hours worked was positively associated with self-esteem when autonomy and role clarity were high (Barling et al., 1995). Senior participants in the Monitoring the Future studies whose jobs offered them opportunities to use their skills and taught them new skills reported higher rates of satisfaction with life and hope for the future than did other participants (Schulenberg and Bachman, 1993). Those whose jobs were relevant to their future pursuits were less susceptible to difficulties related to longer work hours. In contrast, among those who saw little relationship between present and future jobs, an increase in work intensity was associated with decrements in health and well-being. Thus, work of low quality may interact with long hours to produce negative effects on personal development. For example, Shanahan (1992) reported that work stress and lack of supervision increased depressed moods among boys who worked more than the median number of hours in the 10th and 12th grades. Problem Behaviors It is in the set of activities that are generally referred to as "problem behaviors" that studies find the clearest indications of deleteri-

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States ous influences of teenage employment. The preponderance of evidence, ranging from national longitudinal studies to cross-sectional studies employing representative sampling designs, has found higher rates of problem behaviors, such as alcohol and other drug use and minor delinquency, among young people who work—particularly among those who work at high intensity—in comparison with their nonworking peers. These findings persist even after statistically controlling for other correlates of problem behaviors. As noted above, because these studies have been conducted in natural settings, they do not lend themselves to experimental designs. Therefore, definitive conclusions that high-intensity work causes behavior problems among youth cannot be made. However, given the consistency in findings across varying youth populations and settings, it seems very likely that high-intensity work does contribute to problem behaviors among young people. In comparison with young people who do not work, employed students are more likely to engage in deviant behavior and school misconduct (Greenberger and Steinberg, 1986; Steinberg and Dornbusch, 1991; Tanner and Krahn, 1991; Wright et al., 1997). Using National Youth Survey data, Wofford (1988) found that minor delinquency is greater for adolescents working full-time than for those working part-time and greater for those working part-time than for those not working at all. However, adolescents who do not work at all tend to commit the more serious offenses (e.g., aggravated assault or theft of an item valued more than $50) (Wofford, 1988). For males, long work hours have also been linked to theft and trouble with the police, as well as to aggressive behavior, especially for those working more than 30 hours per week (Bachman and Schulenberg, 1993). These researchers used data from Monitoring the Future and statistically controlled for the effects of region, urbanicity, parents' education, race, high school grade-point average, 4-year-college plans, and high school curriculum. Higher intensity workers (i.e., those working longer hours) were also more likely to be victims of aggression and theft, but most of the incidents occurred in or near schools (Bachman and Schulenberg, 1993). Wright et al. (1997) found that high work intensity increased the likelihood of delinquent involvement among males who were already at risk for delinquent behavior: That is, the more hours such

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States high-risk adolescent males worked, the more likely they were to engage in delinquent behavior. Hours of work had no direct effect on likelihood of delinquent involvement among females or low-risk males. The researchers analyzed the relationship between work intensity and delinquency using the 1988 National Survey of Families and Households, a cross-sectional, nationally representative sample of 13,079 individuals within 9,643 households. The respondents in this study were the parents of the adolescents. 3 Adolescents who work more than 20 hours per week have been found to be prone to using cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine) (Bachman and Schulenberg, 1993; Greenberger and Steinberg, 1986; Mihalic and Elliott, 1997; Mortimer et al., 1996; Resnick et al., 1997; Schulenberg and Bachman, 1993; Steinberg and Dornbusch, 1991). Students in St. Paul, Minnesota, who worked more than 20 hours per week engaged in more alcohol use than their classmates each year during high school (Mortimer et al., 1996). In fact, the link between intensive work and substance use is one of the strongest findings in this area, manifest even when the data are subjected to extensive statistical controls for background variables and pre-existing differences in substance use between the groups. For example, Mortimer and colleagues (1996) found that hours worked during high school were associated with alcohol use, an association that held after statistical control for frequency of past alcohol use, sex, parental socioeconomic status, race, family composition, and nativity. Mihalic and Elliott (1997), in studying the short-term effects of work hours on the use of alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs among 11-to 17-year-olds from 1976 through 1980, statistically controlled for sex, age, parental socioeconomic status, place of residence (urban/suburban, rural), ethnicity, and prior drug and alcohol use (at first interview): They found that employment had an effect on marijuana and alcohol use above and beyond any preemployment differences. Greenberger and Steinberg (1986) and Bachman and Schulenberg 3   In this study (Wright et al., 1997), the researchers developed a measure that categorized youths by risk for delinquency, based on research findings in criminology. Risk factors assessed in this study were parental criminality, parental role rejection, family mobility, household size, self-control, parent-child conflict, family income, a nonintact marriage, and low school commitment. Each factor was dichotomized at the median to show presence or absence of risk. Youths with four or more risk factors present were considered high risk.

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States (1993) have suggested that employment is sometimes one component of a syndrome of "pseudomaturity" or "precocious development," including such adult behaviors as drinking and smoking and earlier (Mihalic and Elliott, 1997) or more frequent (Bachman and Schulenberg, 1993) dating. Working adolescents may come to think of themselves as adults, given access to adult-like job responsibilities and economic independence. Relationships with older coworkers could introduce adolescents prematurely to more ostensibly adult ways of handling stress or spending leisure time. (Tanner and Krahn [1991] report evidence that having delinquent friends acts as an intervening variable between working as an adolescent and committing illegal acts.) Employment appears to foster behaviors by teens that may signify adult status and identity but that pose problems when they are engaged in by youth (or engaged in excessively by adults). Although working long hours is associated with increased substance use and other problem behaviors, very little research has examined whether the quality of the work experience directly affects these outcomes or alters the effects of employment. Steinberg and Cauffman (1995) pointed out that adolescents' use of drugs and alcohol was linked to work stressors in a sample of high school students in California (Greenberger and Steinberg, 1986). Based on data from Monitoring the Future, Schulenberg and Bachman (1993) found that skill utilization at work was associated with decreased cigarette and marijuana use for adolescents generally and in decreased alcohol use for females. Moreover, adolescents who described their jobs as not requiring the use of their skills, as being unconnected to the future, and as being "the kind of work that people do just for the money" used cigarettes more frequently as the intensity of their work increased. Work intensity was found to be less consequential for young people who described their jobs as relevant to their futures. MINORITY AND DISADVANTAGED YOUTH Two high school students working side by side in the same establishment may have very different work experiences. The job may represent a short-term means of earning spending money for the college-bound middle-class student, but it may be the beginning of a

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States lifetime of episodic employment in low-wage jobs for a disadvantaged student. For this reason, the issues regarding work for disadvantaged populations deserve special attention. Poor and minority children and youth need all of the same protections from hazardous work that advantaged children and youth need. In addition, they have some distinctive needs: access to the benefits of employment; protection from discrimination, which may block them from getting better jobs and may affect their health and safety while working; and protection from the hazards of employment in the underground economy (which are beyond the reach of child labor laws). Studies consistently find that poor and minority youth are less likely to be employed than are middle-income white youth (Ahituv et al., 1994; Carr et al., 1996; Keithly and Deseran, 1995; Lewin-Epstein, 1981; Tienda and Ahituv, 1996); thus, they are less likely to experience either the developmental advantages or the disadvantages of employment during childhood and adolescence. For example, the Current Population Survey (March, 1995) reports that by the age of 17, 82.8 percent of whites have had job experience, compared with 79.1 percent of Hispanics and 69.5 percent of African Americans. On the basis of U.S. 1980 and 1990 census data, O'Regan and Quigley (1996) present evidence that the spatial isolation of minority and poor households decreases employment opportunities. This means that disadvantaged children and adolescents are less frequently exposed to work and, therefore, to work-related threats to their health and safety, but they also receive fewer benefits of employment. Poor youngsters are more likely to need income to help provide for their own or their families' needs. Furthermore, they need added opportunities to develop their human capital if they are to overcome the barriers of poverty and discrimination. Keithly and Deseran (1995) examined the relationships between youth labor force participation and individual, family, and local labor market factors, using 1980 public-use census data. They found that the likelihood of adolescent employment increased with family income up to $ 54,999 in 1980 dollars, when employment levels dropped. They concluded (Keithly and Deseran, 1995:486):

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States Contrary to theories that suggest that economic need propels youths into the labor force, factors such as lower household income and parents not working substantially decrease the odds of youth participation in the labor force. A recent book makes a compelling case, based on research conducted in high-performance firms, that employability in the current and future labor force is increasingly determined by a combination of basic academic knowledge and "soft skills," defined as "the ability to work in groups and to make effective oral and written presentations" (Murnane and Levy, 1996:9). A similar combination of academic and behavioral skills was identified by the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS)(1991) (see Box 4-1). These insights into what makes people employable are helpful, especially in contrast to the assumption—which underlies much vocational education and training—that employability is determined primarily by the possession of specific work skills. Job-specific skills remain critical in many fields, but they are both more easily learned and more quickly outmoded than are the new basic skills: To succeed at work today, most people need to acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that are quintessential middle-class virtues. The new basic skills and most of the skills identified by SCANS are the qualities that many youngsters acquire from attending good schools; from having strong families; from participating in church, scouts, 4-H, and other community organizations; and from engaging in a disciplined manner in such activities as sports, music, and dance. Summer and after-school work experience can also contribute to the new basic skills. Having fewer opportunities for such activities, many poor and minority youngsters experience difficulty finding and keeping jobs, even if they can overcome discriminatory practices and their geographic isolation from many jobs. For example, they may be unaccustomed to schedules and supervision and may lack customer-relations skills. In some cases, they may have developed competing competencies (Walther, 1976): For example, they may have found a highly aggressive interpersonal style that is accepted in their neighborhood, but such a style is unlikely to impress job interviewers. The speech, dress, and manners that serve young people well in their homes and neighborhoods may disqualify them from desirable jobs. Thus, obtaining work experience may be more important for disadvantaged youth than for relatively advantaged youth. But that work experience must be of high quality to have the

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States BOX 4-1 THE SECRETARY OF LABOR'S COMMISSION ON ACHIEVING NECESSARY SKILLS The Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) (1991) produced a list of goals and objectives of what employees need to be considered effective workers. SCANS proposed a set of five competencies workers should have. Workplace Competencies Resources—They know how to allocate time, money, materials, space, and staff. Interpersonal skills—They can work on teams, teach others, serve customers, lead, negotiate, and work well with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. Information—They can acquire and evaluate data, organize and maintain files, interpret and communicate, and use computers to process information. Systems—They understand social, organizational, and technological systems; they can monitor and correct performance; and they can design or improve systems. Technology—They can select equipment and tools, apply technology to specific tasks, and maintain and troubleshoot equipment. In addition, SCANS recommended three foundation skills and personal qualities that are needed for solid job performance. Foundation Skills Basic Skills—reading, writing, arithmetic and mathematics, speaking, and listening. Thinking Skills—the ability to learn, to reason, to think creatively, to make decisions, and to solve problems. Personal Qualities—individual responsibility, self-esteem and self-management, sociability, and integrity. desired effect. Because of the neighborhoods they tend to live in, those who are employed are likely to work in small firms and on a casual basis, arrangements that give them less protection in their jobs. It is especially critical that disadvantaged youth have opportunities to take leadership positions, not only to serve as subordinates (Hamilton and Claus, 1981). Poor, urban adolescents are also more

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States likely than their middle-class counterparts to earn money illegally in the underground economy (e.g., from theft, drug sales, prostitution) (Wilson, 1987, 1996)—which is more dangerous than legal employment—although this phenomenon cannot be traced in national surveys. Although good employment experiences may be particularly beneficial for disadvantaged youngsters, working may sometimes lead them away from school. For those who are initially less interested or involved in school or whose poor performance in school threatens their self-esteem, working may present an alternative that may become more attractive than maintaining the student role. Tienda and Ahituv (1996), using data from the NLSY, show that an increase in work effort (average weekly hours of work) at 18 years of age has a negative effect on the probability of college enrollment, especially among youth whose mothers did not complete high school. In the High School and Beyond study, only high-risk youth (defined by below-average socioeconomic status, low test scores, and low parental monitoring) were less likely to complete high school if they worked very long hours (more than 29 hours per week in their sophomore year). However, at-risk youth who worked 15 hours or more during their sophomore year in high school also had higher earnings 10 years later (Chaplin and Hannaway, 1996). CONCLUSIONS Whether working has positive or negative consequences for young people is a complex question. Employment is such a multifaceted phenomenon that many factors must be considered, including the broader contexts in which youth work (e.g., urban or rural), the intensity of their work, and the quality of their work experience. Moreover, there are many potential outcomes of employment, some positive and some negative. The conclusions that can be drawn from the scientific literature are limited by the fact that all the studies involve correlational rather than experimental studies. However, researchers will certainly never be able to randomly assign young people to various work conditions, in order to conclusively show whether or not work causes certain outcomes. Well-designed correlational studies with good statistical controls for pre-existing differences among students who work at different intensities, such as those reviewed in this chapter,

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States provide the best evidence that is likely ever to be available on the consequences of work during high school. In several studies using NLSY data, long hours of work during high school, particularly during the senior year, have been associated with higher wages and steadier employment for up to 10 years after high school. These apparent economic advantages are accompanied by some decrease in overall educational attainment. If there are long-term economic advantages to working while in school, studies of people beyond their late 20s will have to be conducted. Ruhm (1997) speculates that the strong positive correlation between senior year employment and measures of job status 10 years later make it likely that this economic advantage will persist. Chaplin and Hannaway (1996) also suggest that the earnings advantage may persist for at-risk youngsters. Of concern, however, is that the apparent short-term economic advantages of work experiences during high school are associated with some decrease in overall educational attainment. And, overall educational attainment has been found to be a strong predictor of long-term economic well-being (Angrist and Krueger, 1991; Bureau of the Census, 1993; DiPrete and McManus, 1996). It is possible that students who complete college, particularly those who pursue advanced degrees, could take more than 10 years after high school graduation to reap the economic rewards of their schooling. It will be important to study what happens to these groups of young people as they reach their peak earning years in their 40s and 50s, to ascertain if the benefits of high school employment persist or are overshadowed by reduced educational attainment. In fact, a recent study using econometric modeling techniques (Hotz et al., 1998) found that, once unmeasured differences between subjects were accounted for, the economic advantages to working while in high school disappeared: Students who went to school full-time without working had a much bigger wage advantage at age 27 than those who combined school and work. Looking at the developmental consequences of employment for youth provides substantial evidence that working long hours is not good for them. Many studies show that high-intensity work while in school—generally defined as more than 20 hours per week during the school year—can be deleterious. Long hours of work are associated with increased likelihood that youngsters will engage in prob-

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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States lem behaviors, including substance use and minor deviance. Long hours of work also are associated with diminished good health habits (e.g., sleep, exercise, and eating breakfast) and decreased time young people spend with their families. Moreover, as noted above, a high level of work during adolescence has been found to be associated with decreased eventual educational attainment. But, employment that is limited in intensity (generally defined as 20 hours per week or less) during high school has been found to promote post-secondary educational attainment. Even those researchers who find economic benefits associated with long hours of work during high school conclude that only light to moderate work should be encouraged (see, for example, Ruhm, 1997:770). Thus, overall, there is considerable evidence that high-intensity work can be deleterious, but that low-to moderate-intensity work can be beneficial. The scientific literature does not allow a precise determination of the number of hours that constitute ''too much" work for young people. Most studies have defined high-intensity work as more than 20 hours per week while school is in session, either for fairly arbitrary reasons or because of how data have been collected. Some studies have found negative outcomes beginning at 15 hours of work per week, and some found positive outcomes for more than 20 hours of work per week. Most studies have focused on the hours that young people work, but there is reason to believe that the quality of work is also important for adolescents' development. Dimensions of work quality, including skill utilization and learning, relations with supervisors, and job-related stressors, have been found to have wide-ranging consequences for personal and vocational development, as well as for adolescents' relationships with parents and peers. In conclusion, the scientific evidence raises fundamental questions about the intensity of work currently permitted for young people as well as the quality of the jobs that are available to them. Good jobs may be particularly important for poor youth, who are less able than middle-class adolescents to find part-time employment and more likely to be employed in low-skilled, hazardous jobs.