All work and no school makes at-risk adolescents more antisocial
Many high school students work in addition to going to school, and some experts argue that employment is good for at-risk youths. But new research has found that placing juvenile offenders in jobs without ensuring that they attend school may make them more antisocial. The study, co-authored by Elizabeth Cauffman, UC Irvine professor of psychology & social behavior and education, appears in the journal Child Development. Going to school regularly without working was associated with the least antisocial behavior, and high-intensity employment (defined as more than 20 hours a week) was associated with diminished antisocial behavior only among youths who also attended school regularly. Those who worked long hours and didn’t attend school regularly were at the greatest risk for antisocial behavior, followed by youths who worked long hours and didn’t go to school at all. These effects occurred during adolescence; by early adulthood, working more than 20 hours a week was associated with less antisocial behavior. Cauffman and her colleagues studied about 1,350 serious juvenile offenders who were 14 to 17 years old at the beginning of the study.