Steinberg et al. (1982) | ‘High School Students in the Labor Force’

Developmental Psychology

Whilst Western societies argue vehemently against child labour, there seems to be a very different attitude to adolescents partaking in the work force.

One in five American high school students work more than 15 hours a week alongside their schooling and, whilst this can lead to positive outcome regarding self-management, there are several downsides associated with teen labour.

Steinberg et al. (1982), found that teenagers who take on part-time jobs alongside their education:

1 - Develop cynical attitudes to work
2 - Are likely to partake in unethical business practices
3 - Suffer in their school achievements
4 - Experience negative implications on their friendships and family relationships

Follow up studies have supported Steinberg et al.'s results, adding that part-time work in adolescence can expose teenagers to unnecessary work-related stress, which can affect sleep, exercise and enjoyment of leisure activities.

Researchers do highlight a strong role for cultural and individual differences in their research findings.

Read the original paper here: Steinberg, L. et al. (1982), High School Students in the Labor Force