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Mortimer, Jeylan T.; Finch, Michael D.; Shanahan, Michael J.; & Ryu, Seongryeol (1992). Adolescent Work History and Behavioral Adjustment. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 2(1), 59-80.


This article examines the features of the child-adolescent work "career" in relation to key dimensions of mental health and behavioral adjustment. The data, including retrospective work histories, were obtained from a representative sample of urban ninth graders. Whereas the total duration of work, measured in months, had no adverse outcomes, the intensity of girls' formal work was found to be lied to school problem behavior, alcohol use, and smoking, even when relevant contemporaneous job attributes are controlled. There was evidence that the complexity of work with things is related to girls' school problem behavior. The work history variables affected boys' outcomes only among boys who were not currently employed. The intensity of past formal work was related to these boys' substance use; the intensity of informal work was associated with a decrease in boys' internal control. The findings indicate that the extent and character of the earliest work experiences should be considered in future longitudinal studies of adolescent development.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Research on Adolescence


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