Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Contingencies in the long-term impact of work on crime among youth
by Wang, Shun-Yung Kevin, Ph.D., The Florida State University, 2011, 225; 3462427
Abstract (Summary)

The impact of jobs on working American youth has not been examined thoroughly and the mechanism between employment and delinquency is not fully understood. Many prior studies that addressed the issue of youth employment and crime emphasized one variable, work intensity, and left plenty of unknown pieces in this puzzle. This study introduces the concept of “ladder jobs” that arguably deter job holders from committing delinquent and criminal behaviors. In this dissertation, “ladder jobs” are those with significant upward-moving occupational positions on a status ladder, and, to adolescents, these jobs encompass potential to be the start of an attractive career. Three promising mediating factors, job income, job stability, and parental control, are also examined. Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 97 and structural equation modeling are used to test hypotheses.

Results indicate that “ladder jobs” demonstrated a significant crime-decreasing effect, while employment exhibited a crime-increasing effect. In addition, the magnitude rate of “ladder jobs” versus employment increased as youth aged; that is, the advantages of “ladder jobs” gradually outweigh the disadvantages of employment in the sense of crime prevention. Furthermore, job income partially mediates the crime-increasing effect of employment on delinquency, and job stability partially mediates the crime-decreasing effect of “ladder jobs” on delinquency. However, parental control, which is measured as direct supervision, does not play a mediating role between employment and delinquency. In sum, from a crime-prevention standpoint, a job that pays little now, but improves the chances of a long-term career appears to better than a dead-end job that pays comparatively well in the short-term. The findings also imply that the discussions of employment and of internships among youth should address the importance of future-oriented feature of occupations, and not just the immediate monetary gains from the employment.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kleck, Gary
School: The Florida State University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 72/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Criminology
Keywords: Crime, Delinquency, Employment, Ladder jobs, NLSY97, Working youth
Publication Number: 3462427
ISBN: 978-1-124-74568-8
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