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A new study suggests that too much work might turn a youngster into a juvenile delinquent. The study showed that fifth-graders who worked at jobs such as baby-sitting and newspaper routes were the most likely to smoke, drink and get into fights.

These findings don't prove a direct link between overwork and getting in trouble, but they surely raise questions about the value of work.

Previous studies have suggested that older kids who work were more likely to abuse substances and get in trouble with the law and this study was the first of its kind to look at work and effects it had on younger kids.

The study authors examined the results of a 2004-2006 survey of 5,147 fifth-graders and their parents.
After adjusting statistics from the findings to account for factors such as household income, the researchers found that the fifth-graders with jobs were two times more likely than other children to have used alcohol within the past 30 days.

The rate was two times higher for tobacco use and three times higher for marijuana use. Those who worked were also 1.5 times more likely to have ever been in a fight and two times more likely to have run away from home.
About one in five fifth-graders said they had a job that included yard work, door-to-door candy sales and baby-sitting.

How does working create a problem? It could be that parents may stop monitoring their children as much when they're working. It is essential parents stayed involved and kept tracking their children, asking questions about what they did at work.

The researchers say that parents should not be concerned over the findings from this study. Many parents as well as their school children find this kind of work to be a healthy and productive part of growing up.
There are many alternative explanations for these results and it is unlikely that informal work itself has any adverse effects on behavior among fifth-graders.

Since very little is known about kids and work, this study provides new information and may be useful in launching an academic dialogue.


I think children are also more exposed to the outside world for better or for worse when they are working, and be subjected to more peer pressure when they are away from home. Whether they will become juvenile delinquents or abuse substance or get in trouble with the law will have to do with the kind of people that they become associated with at their work place. This is something that the parents can control.