240581 Informal work experience, substance use, and delinquency among young adults

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kathryn E. McCollister, PhD , Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Derek Freitas, BS , Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Frederick Zimmerman, PhD , Department of Health Services School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
William G. LeBlanc, PhD , Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine - NIOSH Research Group, Miami, FL
Lora E. Fleming, MD, PhD , European Centre for Environment and Human Health (PCMD) and Univesity of Miami OHH Center and NIOSH Research Group, Miami, FL
David J. Lee, PhD , Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Objective Many youth seek opportunities to earn money through informal work experiences such as baby-sitting, newspaper routes, and yard work. Formal work has been associated with delinquent behaviors and substance abuse, but through use of cross-sectional data. This study initially seeks to examine the incidence of substance use and delinquency among youth reporting informal work relative to those who do not and, ultimately, assess a causal relationship between early informal work and substance use and delinquency.

Methods Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), we estimate numerous models to determine whether informal work experience is in fact associated with substance use and delinquency; and if so, whether this association may be causal. Continuous and dichotomous measures of dependent variables (e.g., any substance use, any delinquency) and predictors (e.g., any and type of informal work, number of hours worked) are employed.

Results Among adolescent participants age 12-13 in 1997, forty percent reported engaging in informal work (n=1,435) within the past year. Relative to those without informal work experience (n=2,143), informal workers reported higher rates of alcohol use (27.2% vs. 21.2%), marijuana use (9.1% vs. 6.9%) and smoking (29.8% vs. 21.5%); in comparing delinquent behaviors, informal workers had higher rates of arrest (4.9% vs. 3.2%) and running away (6.3% vs. 4.3%).

Conclusion Preliminary results show higher rates of delinquent behavior and substance abuse among informal workers. Additional analyses will examine the causal nature including potential reverse causality in association between informal work and substance use/delinquent behavior.

Learning Areas:
Epidemiology
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand the unique role informal work plays in young adultsí lives and the extent to which youth are engaging in informal work. 2. Gain insight into the relationship between informal work and substance use/delinquency and how it compares to formal work and these negative behaviors. 3. Learn statistical techniques for addressing endogeneity bias in longitudinal data analysis.

Keywords: Youth at Work, Risky Behaviors

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted statistical analysis for study and contributed to the writing of the manuscript.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.