(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.


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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