Adolescent work experience and self-efficacy

Keith A. Cunnien, Nicole Martinrogers, Jeylan T. Mortimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess the relationship between high school work experiences and selfefficacy. Design/methodology/approach – Ordinary least squares regressions are applied to longitudinal data from the Youth Development Study to examine work experiences and selfefficacy. Findings – The analyses indicate that employment fosters selfefficacy in multiple realms. Occasional and sporadic workers exhibit less selfefficacy than steady workers. Supervisory support may be especially important in enhancing adolescents' confidence as they anticipate their future family lives, community participation, personal health and economic achievements. Research limitations/implications – This research includes only a small set of the work dimensions that may be important for adolescents. Ethnography and indepth interviews are recommended to further explore the subjective and emotional dimensions of youth work experiences. Practical implications – In developing policies and guidance, educators, parents and employers should be aware that steady employment and supervisory support enhance the development of adolescent selfefficacy. Originality/value – This paper finds evidence that adolescent work experiences spill over to influence youth's developing confidence in the realms of family life, community and personal health. It also suggests that sporadic and occasional work patterns can impair the development of selfefficacy in adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-175
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
StatePublished - Apr 24 2009


  • Adolescents
  • Employment
  • Self-esteem
  • United States of America


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