In the article, “Age Differences in the Impact of Employment on Antisocial Behavior,” Monahan and team examined the effect of employment on antisocial behavior in a group of low-socioeconomic status delinquents ranging from 14 years old to 23 years old. Previously and currently, research has supported and believes that employment reduces juvenile delinquency. This study helps to fill in the gaps of previous research as well as provide an opposing result. Participants in this study were conveniently sampled from another study program, Pathways to Desistance, for juvenile offenders. This study consisted of 1354 delinquents, 1,170 of which were male. Many of which were between 14 and 17 years old when they were convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor (Monahan 2013).
The participants underwent interviews for 5 years either at a facility, their home, or a community location to gather information about his or life. Interviews were conducted month by month for 3 years and then annually for the remaining 2 years. Throughout the interviews, the participants were asked about life events such as criminal activity, place of residence, employment status, school attendance, etc. As they were interviewed, they self-reported their employment status, job type, wage earned, and school attendance. The interviewer, on the other hand, asked questions pertaining to 22 antisocial and illegal activities using the Self-Report of Offending. That of which included aggressive antisocial behavior and income-related antisocial behavior (Monahan 2013).
After data analysis, the data suggested that participants who reported higher employment reported less aggressive antisocial behavior when compared to those who were unemployed. However, there was no difference in aggressive antisocial behavior between those who worked more frequently than those who did not. Income-related antisocial behavior was less reported in those who worked more frequently than those who were working less frequently or unemployed. Less frequently working participants reported less income-related antisocial behavior when compared to unemployed participants.
However, once participants turned 18, the effect of employment on lessening income-related antisocial behaviors faded. Participants who worked frequently and attended school irregularly reported the most aggressive antisocial behavior when compared to other groups of participants. Contrary to popular assumption, any amount of employment does not always reduce delinquency. Monahan and team found that irregular school attendance along with working more than part-time posed the greatest risk for antisocial behavior in youth juvenile delinquents (Monahan 2013).
This study is beneficial to study in the sense that we too are studying employment as a factor that can either reduce or increase one’s choice to behave criminally. However, we focused on the lack of employment and employment alone; not in conjunction with school attendance. We hypothesized that lack of employment could lead to increased stress levels due to lack of money which leads to delinquency. This study provides an opposing view in the sense that Monahan and team found that working over 20 hours as well as attending school irregular posed the greatest risk for criminal behavior.