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Finch, Michael D.; Shanahan, Michael J.; Mortimer, Jeylan T.; & Ryu, Seongryeol (1991). Work Experience and Control Orientation in Adolescence. American Sociological Review, 56(5), 597-611.


Adolescent orientations toward and expectancies about competent action are important predictors of adult attainment. Using panel data, this study shows that part-time work experiences and mastery orientation are reciprocally related among adolescents. Prior control orientation, measured by Pearlin's mastery scale, significantly influenced the character of boys' and girls' subsequent work experiences. Furthermore, extrinsic conditions and stressors at work were found to affect adolescents' control orientation. For boys, conditions of opportunity at work had a significant positive effect on tenth-grade mastery, whereas conflicts between school and work fostered a more external control orientation. Boys' educational plans for the future moderated the effects of conflict between school and work. Girls' evaluations of their pay were found to support an internal control orientation; however, responsibility for things that were perceived as being beyond their control engendered a more external control orientation.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Sociological Review


Finch, Michael D.
Shanahan, Michael J.
Mortimer, Jeylan T.
Ryu, Seongryeol