Work Intensity and Academic Success

Jeremy Staff, Jeylan T. Mortimer, Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, we review prior research examining how teenage work intensity, indicated by the average hours of paid work, its quality, and duration, relates to both short- and longer-term success in school. We examine the evidence for three plausible propositions: (1) that work intensity in adolescence has a causal effect on school achievement and educational attainment; (2) that these effects are moderated by gender, race/ethnicity, and family socioeconomic background; and (3) that the relationship between work intensity and academic success is spuriously related to preexisting differences between students. We also highlight shifts in the employment experiences of teenagers over the past 20 years based on cross-sectional data from the Monitoring the Future study, we offer four suggestions for future study, and we discuss implications for policy based upon what we know now about the intensity of teenage work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
ISSN (Print)1389-6903
ISSN (Electronic)2542-839X

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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