. "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
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