. "4 Work's Effects on Children and Adolescents." Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1998.
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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States
youngster a general sense of efficacy, as one who can meet the challenges of multiple roles—both now and in the future.
In view of potential benefits of working for personal development, it is not surprising to find widespread approval of employment for youngsters. Many people, including parents of adolescents who work, believe that working during this phase of life promotes responsibility, time-management skills, and self-confidence (Phillips and Sandstrom, 1990). In fact, employed youth describe themselves as more punctual, responsible, and dependable than those who are not employed (Greenberger, 1984).
Along with working students' multiple role responsibilities comes the potential for role conflict, especially as work hours increase. If adolescents are not successful in juggling role demands, the conflicts between work and other roles could undermine their sense of competence. This undesirable outcome would appear to be more likely as work hours increase. Among high school seniors in the Monitoring the Future studies, the young people who were the most satisfied with their lives—after controlling for background factors and educational commitment and success—were those employed 6 to 10 hours per week; they were more satisfied than nonworkers and than those who worked more than 10 hours per week (Bachman and Schulenberg, 1993).
Although it is widely believed that working promotes money management skills, some have questioned whether having relatively large amounts of discretionary income during this phase of life is beneficial. Bachman (1983) warns that early paid work could generate subsequent dissatisfaction with some living standards and lifestyles. Young workers use their earnings largely to purchase things they want but do not necessarily need (Greenberger and Steinberg, 1986; Johnston et al., 1982; Yeatts, 1994).
Furthermore, employment may limit young people's horizons. Greenberger and Steinberg (1986) point out that since work often consumes so much time, adolescents miss out on a critical "moratorium" period to explore alternative identities and interests. According to this argument, employment draws young people away from more developmentally beneficial pursuits.
In an analysis of the effects of working and hours of work on how adolescents use their time, Schoenhals and colleagues (1997) report that the number of hours worked per week had a strong