The quality of work and youth mental health

Jeylan T. Mortimer, Carolyn Harley, Jeremy Staff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

According to one prominent perspective, part-time work places adolescents at risk because it confronts them with stressors for which they are unprepared and limits participation in more developmentally beneficial activities. However, if working signifies progress in moving toward adulthood, it could promote psychological well-being. Although the controversy surrounding teenage work is focused on employment status and intensity, research on adults indicates that it is the quality of work experience that matters for psychological functioning. This research examines key features of work experience and adolescents' depressive affect and well-being, including both selection and socialization processes. Based on data from the St. Paul Youth Development Study, the analysis indicates that the quality of high school work experience does have significant contemporaneous consequences for the mental states of young people but has little effect on their long-term mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-197+135
JournalWork and Occupations
Volume29
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2002

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Cite this

Mortimer, J. T., Harley, C., & Staff, J. (2002). The quality of work and youth mental health. Work and Occupations, 29(2), 166-197+135.