A brief analysis of the positive and negative effects of adolescent working
Adolescent working is associated with both positive and negative effects.Apart from their indulgence in delinquent behavior, they are also more unlikely to meet academic requirements too.This apart any negative feelings with the workplace, can itself produce have a depressing effect.
However there are also many positive effects associated with their early interaction with the industry and work attitudes.
They learn to manage themselves with an eye for savings and future life. It cannot be defied that this is a crucial phase of life for an adolescent individual and any external support could help immensely, in meeting the demands placed on the individual.
The adolescent period is perhaps the most difficult phase of life for any individual. This child-to-adult transition phase is associated with both physical and mental changes. In their adolescence years, children experience greater psychological growth as they try to keep up with the related physical and sexual developments, associated with this period.
Adolescents experience difficulty in adapting to the unexpected sudden rise in sexual and aggressive drives. These changes on them produce confusion and they struggle to come to terms with their understanding of the world around them.
The physical development in adolescents affects their habits and interaction in several ways. By their mid-adolescence, their emotional and intellectual abilities are increased and they seek adventure and are willing to experiment different ideas.
They seek to develop an identity for themselves, be independent and achieve. Adolescents would want to weaken their ties and their dependence, on their parents. They look for an employment to facilitate all these requirements.
Research has shown that adolescents taking to work are associated with positive and negative effects. Among the skill sets they acquire through work are time management abilities, marketing capabilities, managing finances etc.
Apart from gaining work experience, they develop good work habits and experience financial independence. It has been estimated that about 50% of the students save from their earnings even as they reach their tenth grade. Their interest in working is driven by aspirations of a higher standard of life and a passion to buy things they need.
Adolescents use their money mainly on expenses associated with car, their clothing and education (McDowell and Futris, 2001). They also save for their college while helping their parents with their domestic expenses.
An adolescents’ positive perception of industry and employment is boosted by early encouraging experiences. Emphasizing on the benefits associated with early employment, the government too has encouraged high school students to seek part time employment (Net industries, 2008).
A 1999 study by Barling and Kelloway found that about 80% of high school graduates have worked at least on one part-time job. Among the significant benefits of working, while at high school are that it helps in the transformation from school to workplace, and in developing a work psyche. Parents too encourage youth employment as it promotes independence and responsibility.
Unfortunately adolescent employment is more associated with negative outcomes, than its benefits. Their employment deprives them of sufficient time with their homework, thus forcing them to make it up by manipulating; by copying and cheating. They tend to cut classes to make up for the time spent on the job.
Apart from a decline in academic achievements, they are influenced by other factors existing in their work places. These effects are lesser among adolescents who work for lesser number of hours and therefore get to spend more time with their parents.
Adolescents working for more than 20 hours a week develop delinquent and problematic behaviors. Adolescents are exposed to other adults in their workplace, devoid of any parental guidance, and they acquire habits and behaviors that are not appropriate to their age, although it may suit an adult (Dufur, 2002).
When youth find themselves in a work setting, they are more focused on employed adults as role models, rather than school completed seniors. They have lesser time for eating, exercising or sleeping which has its own physical or mental effects.
Adolescents having complaints at work are more likely to get depressed and develop negative self- perceptions. Some employed youth, particularly those in high intensity work, even take to alcohol and drugs while being in school. Several studies have pointed to the association of adolescent working and risk behavior including petty crimes, marijuana and risky sexual indulgence.
Teens need to be understood and supported to meet the challenges of work and school. They need to be guided to use their time and resources in a more beneficial way. Creating a time bound schedule, emphasizing on the time to be spent on work or school each day or week, would help in organizing their commitments. As they near adulthood, they must be taught to manage all responsibilities and roles associated with it.
McDowell U and Futris T.G., (2001) Adolescent Employment, Ohio State University Extension, [Electronic Version] downloaded on 6th March 2007 from
Net industries (2008) Working in Adolescence – Advantages and Disadvantages of Adolescent Employment [Electronic Version] downloaded on 6th March 2007 from
Dufur M. (2002) Examining the Motives for and Effects of At-Risk Students’ Work for Pay during High School. Brigham Young University [Electronic Version] downloaded on 6th March 2007 from http://www.fcs.utah.edu/info/utahdemographers/binary/?id=13