You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:


Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Work Experience and Control Orientation in Adolescence

Michael D. Finch, Michael J. Shanahan, Jeylan T. Mortimer and Seongryeol Ryu
American Sociological Review
Vol. 56, No. 5 (Oct., 1991), pp. 597-611
Stable URL:
Page Count: 15
  • Download PDF
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
Work Experience and Control Orientation in Adolescence
We're having trouble loading this content. Download PDF instead.


Adolescent orientations toward and expectancies about competent action are important predictors of adult attainment. Using panel data, this study shows that part-time work experiences and mastery orientation are reciprocally related among adolescents. Prior control orientation, measured by Pearlin's mastery scale, significantly influenced the character of boys' and girls' subsequent work experiences. Furthermore, extrinsic conditions and stressors at work were found to affect adolescents' control orientation. For boys, conditions of opportunity at work had a significant positive effect on tenth-grade mastery, whereas conflicts between school and work fostered a more external control orientation. Boys' educational plans for the future moderated the effects of conflict between school and work. Girls' evaluations of their pay were found to support an internal control orientation; however, responsibility for things that were perceived as being beyond their control engendered a more external control orientation.

Notes and References

This item contains 76 references.

  • 1
    This reference contains 2 citations:
    • U.S. Bureau of the Census 1980
    • Address Coding Guide, Minnesota Anal- ysis and Planning System 1980
  • Amato, Paul R. 1989. "Family Process and the Compe- tence of Adolescents and Primary School Children." Journal of Youth and Adolescence18:39-53.
  • Andrisani, Paul J. and Gilbert Nestel. 1976. "Internal- External Control as Contributor To and Outcome of Work Experience." Journal of Applied Psychol- ogy61:156-65.
  • Bachman, Jerald G., Dawn E. Bare, and Eric I. Frank- ie. 1986. "Correlates of Employment among High School Seniors" (Monitoring the Future Occasion- al Paper No. 20). Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Bandura, Albert. 1977. "Self-Efficacy: Toward a Uni- fying Theory of Behavioral Change." Psychologi- cal Review84:191-215.
  • Cauce, Ana Mari. 1987. "School and Peer Compe- tence in Early Adolescence: A Test of Domain- Specific Self-Perceived Competence." Develop- mental Psychology23:287-91.
  • Clausen, John S. 1981. "Men's Occupational Careers in the Middle Years." Pp. 321-51 in Present and Past in Middle Life, edited by D. H. Eichorn, J.A. Clausen, N. Haan, M. P. Honzik, and P. H. Mus- sen. New York: Academic Press.
  • Clausen, John S. 1991. "Adolescent Competence and the Shaping of the Life Course." American Journal of Sociology96:805-42.
  • Coleman, James S., Ernest Q. Campbell, Carol J. Hobson, James McPartland, Alexander M. Mood, Frederic D. Weinfeld, and Robert L. York. 1966. Equality of Educational Opportunity. Washington, DC: U.S. Office of Education.
  • Crain, Robert L. and Carol Sachs Weisman. 1972. Discrimination, Personality, and Achievement: A Survey of Northern Blacks. New York: Seminar Press.
  • Deci, Edward L. 1980. The Psychology of Self-Deter- mination. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Com- pany.
  • Deci, Edward L. and Richard M. Ryan. 1987. "The Support of Autonomy and the Control of Behav- ior." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 53:1024-37.
  • Dillman, Don A. 1983. "Mail and Other Self-Admin- istered Questionnaires." Pp. 359-77 in Handbook of Survey Research, edited by P. H. Rossi, J.D. Wright, and A. B. Anderson. New York: Academ- ic Press.
  • Dornbusch, Sanford. 1989. "The Sociology of Ado- lescence." Annual Review of Sociology15:233-59.
  • Duncan, Greg J. and Jeffrey K. Liker. 1983. "Disen- tangling the Efficacy-Earnings Relationship Among White Men." Pp. 218-248 in Five Thousand Amer- ican Families: Patterns of Economic Progress, vol. 10, edited by G. J. Duncan and J. N. Morgan. Ann Arbor: Institute for Survey Research, University of Michigan.
  • Elder, Glen H., Jr. 1969. "Occupational Mobility, Life Patterns, and Personality." Journal of Health and Social Behavior10:308-23.
  • Finch, Michael D. and Jeylan T. Mortimer. 1985. "Adolescent Work Hours and the Process of Achievement." Pp. 171-96 in Research in Sociol- ogy of Education and Socialization, vol. 5, edited by A. C. Kerckhoff. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
  • Ford, Martin E. 1985. "The Concept of Competence." Pp. 3-49 in Competence Development: Theory and Practice in Special Populations, edited by H. A. Marlowe, Jr. and R. B. Weinberg. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
  • Frantz, Roger S. 1980. "The Effect of Early Labor Market Experience Upon Internal-External Locus of Control Among Young Male Workers." Journal of Youth and Adolescence9:203-10.
  • Garmezy, Norman, Ann Masten, Lynn Nordstrom, and Michael Farrarese. 1979. "The Nature of Com- petence in Normal and Deviant Children." Pp. 23- 43 in Primary Prevention of Psychopathology, vol. 3, Social Competence in Children, edited by M.W. Kent and J. E. Rolf. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.
  • Gecas, Viktor. 1989. "The Social Psychology of Self- Efficacy." Annual Review of Sociology15:291-316.
  • Gecas, Viktor and Michael L. Schwalbe. 1986. "Pa- rental Behavior and Adolescent Self-Esteem." Jour- nal of Marriage and the Family48:37-46.
  • Gilligan, Carol. 1982. In a Different Voice: Psycho- logical Theory and Women's Development. Cam- bridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Greenberger, Ellen. 1988. "Working in Teenage Amer- ica." Pp. 21-50 in Work Experience and Psycho- logical Development Through the Life Span, edited by J. T. Mortimer and K. M. Borman. Boulder: Westview Press.
  • Greenberger, Ellen and Laurence D. Steinberg. 1986. When Teenagers Work: The Psychological and Social Costs of Adolescent Employment. New York: Basic Books.
  • Gurin, Patricia and Orville G. Brim, Jr. 1984. "Change in Self in Adulthood: The Example of Sense of Control." Pp. 282-334 in Life-Span Development and Behavior, vol. 6, edited by P. B. Baltes and 0. G. Brim, Jr. New York: Academic Press.
  • Harter, Susan. 1982. "The Perceived Competence Scale for Children." Child Development53:87-97.
  • Heath, Douglas H. 1976. "What the Enduring Effects of Higher Education Tell Us About a Liberal Edu- cation." Journal of Higher Education47:173-90.
  • Heckman, James J. 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models." Annals of Economic and Social Measurement5:475-92.
  • Heckman, James J. 1979. "Sample Selection as a Spec- ification Error." Econometrica45:153-61.
  • House, James S. and Jeylan T. Mortimer. 1990. "So- cial Structure and the Individual: Emerging Themes and New Directions." Social Psychology Quarter- ly53:71-80.
  • Jordaan, Jean Pierre and Donald E. Super. 1974. "The Prediction of Early Adult Vocational Behavior." Pp. 108-30 in Life History Research in Psychopa- thology, vol. 3, edited by D. F. Ricks, A. Thomas, and M. Roff. Minneapolis: University of Minneso- ta Press.
  • Kohn, Melvin L. and Carrie Schoenbach. 1983. "Class, Stratification, and Psychological Functioning." Pp. 154-89 in Work and Personality: An Inquiry into the Impact of Social Stratification, by M. L. Kohn and C. Schooler, with the collaboration of J. Mill- er, K. A. Miller, C. Schoenbach, and R. Schoen- berg. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  • Kohn, Melvin L. and Carmi Schooler. 1982. "Job Conditions and Personality: A Longitudinal As- sessment of their Reciprocal Effects." American Journal of Sociology87:1257-86.
  • Kohn, Melvin L. and Carmi Schooler, with the col- laboration of Joanne Miller, Karen A. Miller, Car- rie Schoenbach, and Ronald Schoenberg. 1983. Work and Personality: An Inquiry Into the Impact of Social Stratification. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  • Lerner, Richard M. and Nancy A. Busch-Rossnagel, eds. 1981. Individuals as Producers of Their De- velopment: A Life-Span Perspective. New York: Academic Press.
  • Lorence, Jon and Jeylan T. Mortimer. 1985. "Job In- volvement Through the Life Course: A Panel Study of Three Age Groups." American Sociological Re- view50:618-38.
  • Maccoby, Eleanor Emmons and Carol Nagy Jacklin. 1974. The Psychology of Sex Differences. Stan- ford: Stanford University Press.
  • Mainquist, Sheri and Dorothy Eichorn. 1989. "Com- petence in Work Settings." Pp. 327-67 in Adoles- cence and Work: Influences of Social Structure, Labor Markets, and Culture, edited by D. Stem and D. Eichorn. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Manning, Wendy D. 1990. "Parenting Employed Teenagers." Youth and Society22:184-200.
  • Marx, Karl. [1844] 1964. Selected Writings in Sociol- ogy and Social Philosophy. Translated by T. B. Bottomore. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Miller, Joanne, Carmi Schooler, Melvin L. Kohn, and Karen A. Miller. 1983. "Women and Work: The Psychological Effects of Occupational Conditions." Pp. 195-216 in Work and Personality: An Inquiry Into the Impact of Social Stratification, by M. L. Kohn and C. Schooler, with the collaboration of J. Miller, K. A. Miller, C. Schoenbach, and R. Schoen- berg. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  • Minnesota Analysis and Planning System (M.A.P.S). 1980. Address Coding Guide. St. Paul: Agricultur- al Extension Service, University of Minnesota.
  • Mortimer, Jeylan T., Timothy Dunnigan, Andrew Fish, and Daniel Martin. 1990. "Mental Health, Achieve- ment, and Adjustment: A Study of Hmong Adoles- cents." Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, 23 March, Atlanta.
  • Mortimer, Jeylan T. and Michael D. Finch. 1986. "The Effects of Part-time Work on Self-Concept and Achievement." Pp. 66-89 in Becoming a Worker, edited by K. Borman and J. Reisman. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  • Mortimer, Jeylan T., Michael D. Finch, and Donald Kumka. 1982. "Persistence and Change in Devel- opment: The Multidimensional Self-Concept." Life- Span Development and Behavior4:263-313.
  • Mortimer, Jeylan T., Michael D. Finch, and Geoffrey Maruyama. 1988. "Work Experience and Job Sat- isfaction: Variation by Age and Gender." Pp. 109- 56 in Work Experience and Psychological Devel- opment Through the Life Span, edited by J. T. Mor- timer and K. M. Borman. Boulder: Westview Press.
  • Mortimer, Jeylan T., Michael D. Finch, Timothy Owens, and Michael Shanahan. 1990. "Gender and Work in Adolescence." Youth and Society22:201- 24.
  • Mortimer, Jeylan T., Michael D. Finch, Michael Shanahan, and Seongryeol Ryu. Forthcoming. "Work Experience, Mental Health and Behavioral Adjustment in Adolescence." Journal of Research on Adolescence2.
  • Mortimer, Jeylan T. and Jon Lorence. 1979. "Occu- pational Experience and the Self-Concept: A Lon- gitudinal Study." Social Psychology Quarterly 42:307-23.
  • Mortimer, Jeylan T. and Jon Lorence. 1981. "Self- Concept Stability and Change from Late Adoles- cence to Early Adulthood." Pp. 5-42 in Research in Community and Mental Health, vol.2, edited by R. G. Simmons. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
  • Mortimer, Jeylan T., Jon Lorence, and Donald S. Kum- ka. 1986. Work, Family and Personality: Transi- tion to Adulthood. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  • Nicholson, Nigel. 1984. "A Theory of Work Role Transitions." Administrative Science Quarterly 29: 172-91.
  • O'Brien, Gordon E. and N. T. Feather. 1990. "The Relative Effects of Unemployment and Quality of Employment on the Affect, Work Values, and Per- sonal Control of Adolescents." Journal of Occupa- tional Psychology63:151-65.
  • Ortman, Patricia E. 1988. "Adolescents' Perceptions of and Feelings About Control and Responsibility in Their Lives." Adolescence23:913-24.
  • Osterman, Paul. 1989. Getting Started: The Youth Labor Market. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Pearlin, Leonard I. 1983. "Role Strains and Personal Stress." Pp. 1-32 in Psychosocial Stress: Trends in Theory and Research, edited by H. B. Kaplan. New York: Academic Press.
  • Pearlin, Leonard I. Elizabeth G. Menaghan, Morton A. Lieberman, and Joseph T. Mullan. 1981. "The Stress Process." Journal of Health and Social Be- havior22:337-56.
  • Pearlin, Leonard I., and Carmi Schooler. 1978. "The Structure of Coping." Journal of Health and Social Behavior19:2-21.
  • Rosenberg, Morris. 1979. Conceiving the Self. New York: Basic Books.
  • Rosenberg, Morris and Leonard I. Pearlin. 1978. "So- cial Class and Self-Esteem Among Children and Adults." American Journal of Sociology84:53-77.
  • Rosenberg, Morris, and Roberta G. Simmons. 1972. Black and White Self-Esteem: The Urban School Child. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.
  • Rotter, J. 1966. "Generalized Expectancies for Inter- nal Versus External Control of Reinforcement." Psychological Monographs80:1-28.
  • Scheck, Dennis C., Robert Emerick, and Mohamed M. El-Assal. 1973. "Adolescents' Perceptions of Parent-Child Relations and the Development of Internal-External Control Orientation." Journal of Marriage and the Family35:643-54.
  • Schwalbe, Michael L. and Viktor Gecas. 1988. "So- cial Psychological Consequences of Job-Related Disabilities." Pp. 233-72 in Work Experience and Psychological Development Through the Life Span, edited by J. T. Mortimer and K. M. Borman. Boul- der: Westview.
  • Seeman, Melvin. 1967. "On the Personal Consequenc- es of Alienation in Work." American Sociological Review32:273-85.
  • Seligman, Martin E. P. 1975. Helplessness: On De- pression, Development, and Death. San Francisco: Freeman.
  • Shanahan, Michael J., Michael D. Finch, Jeylan T. Mortimer and Seongryeol Ryu. 1990. "Adolescent Work Experience, Depressive Affect and Well-Be- ing". Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society, 13 Apr., Chicago.
  • Simmons, Roberta G. and Dale A. Blyth. 1987. Mov- ing Into Adolescence: The Impact of Pubertal Change and School Context. New York: Aldine.
  • Spenner, Kenneth I. and Luther B. Otto. 1985. "Work and Self-Concept: Selection and Socialization in the Early Career." Pp. 197-235 in Research in Sociology of Education and Socialization, vol. 5, edited by A. C. Kerckhoff. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
  • Steinberg, Laurence and Sanford M. Dornbusch. 1991. "Negative Correlates of Part-time Employment during Adolescence: Replication and Elaboration." Developmental Psychology27:304-13.
  • U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1980. 1980 Census of Population and Housing. Block Statistics Maps- Minneapolis-St. Paul. Washington, DC: U.S. Gov- ernment Printing Office.
  • U.S. Bureau of the Census. Data User Services Divi- sion. 1982. Census of Population and Housing, 1980: Summary Tape File 3. Technical Documen- tation. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Print- ing Office.
  • Van Maanen, John and Edgar Schein. 1979. "Toward a Theory of Organizational Socialization." Research in Organizational Behavior1:209-64.
  • Vondracek, Fred W., Richard M. Lerner, and John E. Schulenberg. 1986. Career Development: A Life- Span Developmental Approach. Hillsday, NJ: Law- rence Erlbaum Associates.
  • White, Robert W. 1973. "The Concept of Healthy Personality: What Do We Really Mean?" The Coun- seling Psychologist4:3-12.