University Study Examines Racial Differences in High School Work Patterns

University-Michigan-logoA new study by researchers at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, finds that African American high school students are less likely than their White peers to be employed. But for those high school students who do have jobs, Blacks, on average, work longer hours than Whites.

The study found that for 10th graders, 43 percent of White students held a job, compared to 29 percent of African Americans. For high school seniors, 72 percent of White students worked compared to 57 percent of Black students. Nearly a third of all Black 12th graders who did hold jobs worked more than 25 hours per week.

One of the more interesting findings of the study is that working long hours does not have negative consequences for African American high school students. Generally, students who work more than 15 hours a week while in high school, see a negative impact on their grades in school. Also students who work long hours are more likely than other high school students to smoke cigarettes and abuse drugs and alcohol. But these negative consequences generally were not apparent for Black high school students who worked long hours.

The research was published on the website of the journal Developmental Psychology. The article may be accessed here.

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