The Effects of Working on Adolescent Development

This paper is an examination of psychological studies on the benefits and detriments of working teens.

This paper examines and compares three studies on adolescents who work part-time in the United States. The paper seeks to refute the common wisdom that holds work experience to be beneficial to youth in increasing their responsibility and self-reliance. The author also discusses the ramifications of the studies’ conclusions on educators and parents.

From the paper:

Unfortunately, many of the jobs that junior high and high school students are employed at are neither challenging nor stimulating. Adolescents often work in repetitive, uninteresting service jobs such as a retail clerk or fast food worker. These jobs do not develop higher skills or allow the worker to explore their interests, or even to make important decisions on the job. Since working does not ipso facto increase responsibility or self-reliance in adolescence (and can even lead to deleterious effects) (Steinberg & Dornbusch, 1991), there is no reason to encourage teenagers to work in these types of jobs.

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