Advertisement

Work Intensity and Academic Success

  • Jeremy Staff
  • Jeylan T. Mortimer
  • Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson
Chapter
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

Abstract

In this chapter, we review prior research examining how teenage work intensity, indicated by the average hours of paid work, its quality, and duration, relates to both short- and longer-term success in school. We examine the evidence for three plausible propositions: (1) that work intensity in adolescence has a causal effect on school achievement and educational attainment; (2) that these effects are moderated by gender, race/ethnicity, and family socioeconomic background; and (3) that the relationship between work intensity and academic success is spuriously related to preexisting differences between students. We also highlight shifts in the employment experiences of teenagers over the past 20 years based on cross-sectional data from the Monitoring the Future study, we offer four suggestions for future study, and we discuss implications for policy based upon what we know now about the intensity of teenage work.

Keywords

Teenage employment Work intensity School-to-work transition Academic success High school dropout Educational attainment 

References

  1. Alon, S. (2009). The evolution of class inequality in higher education: Competition, exclusion, and adaptation. American Sociological Review, 74, 731–755.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Apel, R., Paternoster, R., Bushway, S. D., & Brame, R. (2006). A job isn’t just a job: The differential impact of formal versus informal work on adolescent problem behavior. Crime & Delinquency, 52, 333–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Apel, R., Bushway, S. D., Brame, R., Haviland, A. M., Nagin, D. S., & Paternoster, R. (2007). Unpacking the relationship between adolescent employment and antisocial behavior: A matched samples comparison. Criminology, 45(1), 67–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Apel, R., Bushway, S. D., Paternoster, R., Brame, R., & Sweeten, G. (2008). Using state child labor laws to identify the causal effect of youth employment on deviant behavior and academic achievement. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 24, 337–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aronson, P. J., Mortimer, J. T., Zierman, C., & Hacker, M. (1996). Generational differences in early work experiences and evaluations. In J. T. Mortimer & M. D. Finch (Eds.), Adolescents, work, and family: An intergenerational developmental analysis (pp. 25–62). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. (1993). How part-time work intensity relates to drug use, problem behavior, time use, and satisfaction among high school seniors: Are these consequences or merely correlates? Developmental Psychology, 29(2), 220–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bachman, J. G., Saffron, D. J., Sy, S., & Schulenberg, J. (2003). Wishing to work: New perspectives on how adolescents’ part-time work intensity is linked to educational disengagement, substance use, and other problem behaviors. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 27(4), 301–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bachman, J. G., Johnston, L. D., & O’Malley, P. M. (2005). Monitoring the future: Questionnaire responses from the nation’s high school seniors, 2004. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  9. Bachman, J. G., Johnston, L. D., & O’Malley, P. M. (2011a). Monitoring the future: Questionnaire responses from the nation’s high school seniors, 2010. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  10. Bachman, J. G., Staff, J., O’Malley, P. M., Schulenberg, J. E., & Freedman-Doan, P. (2011b). Twelfth-grade student work intensity linked to later educational attainment and substance use: New longitudinal evidence. Developmental Psychology, 47(2), 344–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bachman, J. G., Staff, J., O’Malley, P. M., & Freedman-Doan, P. (2013). Adolescent work intensity, school performance, and substance use: Links vary by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Developmental Psychology, 49(11), 2125–2134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Barling, J., Rogers, K. A., & Kelloway, E. K. (1995). Some effects of teenagers’ part-time employment: The quantity and quality of work make the difference. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 16, 143–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Besen-Cassino, Y. (2014). Consuming work: Youth labor in America. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Bozick, R. (2007). Making it through the first year of college: The role of students’ economic resources, employment, and living arrangements. Sociology of Education, 80(3), 261–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Call, K. T., & Mortimer, J. T. (2001). Arenas of comfort in adolescence: A study of adjustment in context. Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  16. Carr, R., Wright, J. D., & Brody, C. (1996). Effects of high school work experience a decade later: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey. Sociology of Education, 69(1), 66–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Coleman, J. S., Bremner, R. H., Clark, B. R., Davis, J. B., Eichorn, D. H., et al. (1974). Youth: Transition to adulthood. Report of the panel on youth of the President’s science advisory committee. University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  18. D’Amico, R. (1984). Does employment during high school impair academic progress? Sociology of Education, 57(3), 152–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ehrenberg, R., & Sherman, D. (1987). Employment while in college, academic achievement, and post college outcomes: A survey of results. Journal of Human Resources, 22, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Entwisle, D. R. (2005). Urban teenagers: Work and dropout. Youth & Society, 37(1), 3–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Entwisle, D. R., Alexander, K. L., & Olson, L. S. (2000). Early work histories of urban youth. American Sociological Review, 65(2), 279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Finch, M. D., Shanahan, M. J., Mortimer, J. T., & Ryu, S. (1991). Work experience and control orientation in adolescence. American Sociological Review, 56, 597–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Greenberger, E., & Steinberg, L. D. (1986). When teenagers work: The psychological and social costs of teenage employment. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  24. Hamilton, L. (2013). More is more or more is less: Parental financial investments during college. American Sociological Review, 78, 70–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hansen, D. M., & Jarvis, P. A. (2000). Adolescent employment and psychosocial outcomes: A comparison of two employment contexts. Youth & Society, 31, 417–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hansen, D. M., Mortimer, J. T., & Kruger, H. (2001). Adolescent part-time employment in the U.S. and Germany: Diverse outcomes, contexts, and pathways. In C. Pole, P. Mizen, & A. Bolton (Eds.), Hidden hands: International perspectives on children’s work and labour (pp. 121–138). London: Routledge Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  27. Heller, S. B. (2014). Summer jobs reduce violence among disadvantaged youth. Science, 346(6214), 1219–1223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hirsch, B. J. (2015). Job skills and minority youth: New program directions. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hirschman, C., & Voloshin, I. (2007). The structure of teenage employment: Social background and the jobs held by high school seniors. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 25(3), 189–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Johnson, M. K. (2004). Further evidence on adolescent employment and substance use: Differences by race and ethnicity. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 45, 187–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kalenkoski, C. M., & Pabilonia, S. W. (2012). Time to work or time to play: The effect of student employment on homework, sleep, and screen time. Labour Economics, 19, 211–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kasinitz, P., Mollenkopf, J. H., Waters, M. C., & Holdaway, J. (2008). Inheriting the city: The children of immigrants come of age. Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Kerckhoff, A. (2000). Transition from school to work in comparative perspective. In M. T. Hallinan (Ed.), Handbook of the sociology of education (pp. 453–474). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
  34. Knapp, L. G., Kelly-Reid, J. E., & Ginder, S. A. (2010). Enrollment in postsecondary institutions, Fall 2008; Graduation rates, 2002 & 2005 cohorts; and financial statistics, fiscal year 2008 (NCES 2010-152). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.: National Center for Education Statistics.Google Scholar
  35. Kofman, Y., & Bianchi, S. M. (2012). Time use of youths by immigrant and native-born parents: ATUS results. Monthly Labor Review, 135, 3–24.Google Scholar
  36. Lareau, A. (2003). Unequal childhoods: Class, race, and family life. Berkley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  37. Lee, J. C., & Staff, J. (2007). When work matters: The varying impact of work intensity on high school dropout. Sociology of Education, 80(2), 158–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Light, A. (2001). In school work experience and the returns to schooling. Journal of Labor Economics, 19(1), 65–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Marsh, H. W. (1991). Employment during high school: Character building or a subversion of academic goals? Sociology of Education, 64, 172–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Marsh, H. W., & Kleitman, S. (2005). Consequences of employment during high school: Character building, subversion of academic goals, or a threshold? American Educational Research Journal, 42(2), 331–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McNall, M., Dunnigan, T., & Mortimer, J. T. (1994). The educational achievement of the St. Paul Hmong. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 25, 44–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McNeal, R. B., Jr. (1997). Are students being pulled out of high school? The effect of adolescent employment on dropping out. Sociology of Education, 70(3), 206–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mihalic, S. W., & Elliott, D. (1997). Short- and long-term consequences of adolescent work. Youth & Society, 28(4), 464–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Monahan, K. C., Lee, J. M., & Steinberg, L. (2011). Revisiting the impact of part-time work on adolescent adjustment: Distinguishing between selection and socialization using propensity score matching. Child Development, 82(1), 96–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mortimer, J. T. (2003). Working and growing up in America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Mortimer, J. T., & Johnson, M. K. (1998). Adolescent part-time work and educational achievement. In K. Borman & B. Schneider (Eds.), The Adolescent years: Social influences and educational challenges (pp. 183–206). Chicago: National Society for the Study of Education.Google Scholar
  47. Mortimer, J. T., & Shanahan, M. J. (1994). Adolescent work experience and family relationships. Work and Occupations, 21, 369–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mortimer, J. T., & Staff, J. (2004). Early work as a source of developmental discontinuity during the transition to adulthood. Development and Psychopathology, 16(4), 1047–1070.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mortimer, J. T., Finch, M. D., Ryu, S., Shanahan, M. J., & Call, K. T. (1996a). The effect of work intensity on adolescent mental health, achievement, and behavioral adjustment: New evidence from a prospective study. Child Development, 67(3), 1243–1261.Google Scholar
  50. Mortimer, J. T., Pimentel, E. E., Ryu, S., Nash, K., & Lee, C. (1996b). Part-time work and occupational value formation in adolescence. Social Forces, 74(4), 1404–1418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mortimer, J. T., Harley, C., & Staff, J. (2002). The quality of work and youth mental health. Work and Occupations, 29(2), 166–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Mortimer, J. T., Vuolo, M., Staff, J., Wakefield, S., & Xie, W. (2008). Tracing the timing of “career” acquisition in a contemporary youth cohort. Work and Occupations, 35, 44–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. National Reseach Council. (1998). Protecting youth at work: Health, safety, and development of working children and adolescents in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  54. Newman, K. S. (1999). No shame in my game. New York: Knopf and Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  55. Oropesa, R. S., & Landale, N. S. (2009). Why do immigrant youths who never enroll in U.S. schools matter? School enrollment among Mexicans and non-Hispanic Whites. Sociology of Education, 82(3), 240–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Paternoster, R., Bushway, S., Brame, R., & Apel, R. (2003). The effect of teenage employment on delinquency and problem behaviors. Social Forces, 82(1), 297–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Perreira, K. M., Harris, K. M., & Lee, D. (2007). Immigrant youth in the labor market. Work and Occupations, 34, 5–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Phillips, S., & Sandstrom, K. (1990). Parental attitudes toward “youthwork”. Youth and Society, 22, 160–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Presley, C. (2013). Advising and engaging the “working-class” college student. The Mentor. An Academic Advising Journal (available online only). Retrieved January 9, 2016 at https://dus.psu.edu/mentor/2013/11/advising-and-engaging-the-%E2%80%9Cworking-class%E2%80%9D-college-student/
  60. Rauscher, K. J., Wegman, D. H., Wooding, J., Davis, L., & Junkin, R. (2013). Adolescent work quality: A view from today’s youth. Journal of Adolescent Research, 28(5), 557–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Reynolds, J., Stewart, M., Sischo, L., & MacDonald, R. (2006). Have adolescents become too ambitious? High school seniors’ educational and occupational plans, 1976 to 2000. Social Problems, 53, 186–2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rosenbaum, J. E., DeLuca, S., Miller, S. R., & Roy, K. (1999). Pathways into work: Short- and long-term effects of personal and institutional ties. Sociology of Education, 72, 179–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rothstein, D. S. (2007). High school employment and youths’ academic achievement. The Journal of Human Resources, 42(1), 194–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Ruscoe, G., Morgan, J. C., & Peebles, C. (1996). Students who work. Adolescence, 31(123), 625–632.Google Scholar
  65. Schneider, B., & Stevenson, D. (1999). The ambitious generation: America’s teenagers, motivated but directionless. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Schneider, B., Saw, G., & Broda, M. (2015). Work and work migration within and across countries in emerging and young adulthood. In L. A. Jensen (Ed.), Oxford handbook of human development and culture: An interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 554–569). Oxford University Press: Oxford.Google Scholar
  67. Schoenhals, M., Tienda, M., & Schneider, B. (1998). The educational and personal consequences of adolescent employment. Social Forces, 77(2), 723–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Sewell, W. H., & Hauser, R. M. (1975). Education, occupation, and earnings. Achievement in the early career. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  69. Shanahan, M., & Flaherty, B. (2001). Dynamic patterns of time use in adolescence. Child Development, 72(2), 385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Shanahan, M. J., Finch, M. D., Mortimer, J. T., & Ryu, S. (1991). Adolescent work experience and depressive affect. Social Psychology Quarterly, 54, 299–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Shanahan, M. J., Elder, G. H., Jr., Burchinal, M., & Conger, R. D. (1996). Adolescent paid labor and relationships with parents: Early work–family linkages. Child Development, 67, 2183–2200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Smith, C. L. (2011). Polarization, immigration, education: What’s behind the dramatic decline in youth employment? Division of research and statistics and monetary affairs (Finance and economics discussion series 2011–2041). Washington, DC: Federal Reserve Board.Google Scholar
  73. Staff, J., & Mortimer J.T. (2008). Social class background and the “school to work” transition. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development 119, 55–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Staff, J., & Mortimer, J. T. (2007). Educational and work strategies from adolescence to early adulthood: Consequences for educational attainment. Social Forces, 85(3), 1169–1194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Staff, J., & Uggen, C. (2003). The fruits of good work: Early work experiences and adolescent deviance. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 40(3), 263–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Staff, J., Osgood, D. W., Schulenberg, J. E., Bachman, J. G., & Messersmith, E. E. (2010a). Explaining the relationship between employment and juvenile delinquency. Criminology, 48(4), 1101–1131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Staff, J., Schulenberg, J. E., & Bachman, J. G. (2010b). Adolescent work intensity, school performance, and academic engagement. Sociology of Education, 83(3), 183–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Staff, J., Johnson, M. K., Patrick, M., & Schulenberg, J. (2014). The Great Recession and recent employment trends among secondary students in the United States. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 5(2), 173–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Staff, J., Mont’Alvao, A., & Mortimer, J. T. (2015). Children at work. In M. H. Bornstein & T. Leventhal (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology and developmental science: Ecological settings and processes (Vol. 4, pp. 345–374). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  80. Stern, D., & Nakata, Y. F. (1989). Characteristics of high school students’ paid jobs, and employment experience after graduation. In D. Stern & D. Eichorn (Eds.), Adolescence and work: Influences of social structure, labor markets, and culture (pp. 189–234). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  81. Tinto, V. (1987). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  82. Tyler, J. H. (2003). Using state child labor laws to identify the effect of school-year work on high school achievement. Journal of Labor Economics, 21(2), 381–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. U.S. Department of Education. (2015). High school dropouts and stopouts: Demographic backgrounds, academic experiences, engagement, and school characteristics. National Center for Education Statistics, 2015–2064.Google Scholar
  84. U.S. Department of Labor. (2000). Report on the youth labor force. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  85. Vuolo, M., Mortimer, J. T., & Staff, J. (2014). Adolescent precursors of pathways from school to work. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24, 145–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Vuolo, M., Mortimer, J. T., & Staff, J. (2016). The value of educational degrees in turbulent economic times: Evidence from the Youth Development Study. Social Science Research, 57, 233–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Warren, J. R. (2002). Reconsidering the relationship between student employment and academic outcomes: A new theory and better data. Youth & Society, 33(3), 366–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Warren, J. R., & Lee, J. C. (2003). The impact of adolescent employment on high school dropout: Differences by individual and labor-market characteristics. Social Science Research, 32, 98–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Warren, J. R., LePore, P. C., & Mare, R. D. (2000). Employment during high school: Consequences for students’ grades in academic courses. American Educational Research Journal, 37, 943–969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Zapata-Gietl, C., Rosenbaum, J., Ahearn, C., & Becker, K. I. (2016). College for all: New institutional conflicts in the transition to adulthood. In M. J. Shanahan, J. T. Mortimer, & M. K. Johnson (Eds.), Handbook of the life course, volume 2. New York: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy Staff
    • 1
  • Jeylan T. Mortimer
    • 2
  • Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

Personalised recommendations