Early Work Experiences and Family Formation Behaviors

Jeremy Staff, Pennsylvania State University
Matt VanEseltine, Pennsylvania State University
April Woolnough, Pennsylvania State University
Eric Silver, Pennsylvania State University
Lori A. Burrington, Pennsylvania State University

Teenage employment has been shown to engender a precocious maturity of adult-like roles and behaviors, prompting debate over the competing benefits and harms of early work experiences on adolescent adjustment and the transition to adulthood. Extending the precocious maturity thesis, we explore the link between adolescent paid work experiences and family formation behaviors including first sex, birth control use, pregnancy, childbearing, residential independence, and union formation. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 13,372), findings suggest that teenagers who spend long hours on the job during the school year (i.e., twenty-one hours or more per week) experience these adult-like behaviors and transitions earlier than youth who work moderately or not at all.

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Presented in Poster Session 5