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Mortimer, Jeylan T.; Finch, Michael D.; Shanahan, Michael J.; & Ryu, Seongryeol (1992). Work Experience, Mental Health, and Behavioral Adjustment in Adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 2(1), 25-57.


This study examines the relationship between early work experience and adolescent mental health and behavioral adjustment. Using data obtained from 1,001 ninth graders about current jobs, attributes of work are examined in relation to dimensions of mental health (self-esteem and self-derogation, depressive affect and well-being, and internal and external control orientations) and indicators of behavioral adjustment (smoking, alcohol use, and problem behavior in school). Boys and girls appear to experience psychological benefits when they perceive their jobs as providing skills that will be useful to them in the future. However, boys who report more stress at work also manifest more depressive affect, more self-derogation, less internality, and a more external control orientation. For girls, the level of integration of school and work had pervasive associations with the psychological outcomes. The findings indicate the fruitfulness of further investigation of the influence of work experience on adolescent psychological and behavioral change.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Research on Adolescence


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