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Youth Development Study, 1988-2004 [St. Paul, Minnesota] (ICPSR 24881)

Principal Investigator(s):


This research was initiated to address the developmental and achievement-related consequences of employment during the adolescent years. The data were collected as part of the ongoing Youth Development Study, which has surveyed the youth nearly annually (exceptions: 1996, 2001, 2006, 2008) since 1988. Whereas developmental psychologists had warned about the dangers of youth employment, when this study was initiated little systematic longitudinal data were available to address the benefits and costs of early investment in the labor force. The major guiding hypothesis for the research was that employment in the teen years would have different consequences depending on the pattern of temporal investment in work (duration and intensity) and the quality of work experience. To examine this issue, a panel of 1,139 students was selected randomly from those enrolled in the ninth grade in the St. Paul Public School District during the 1987-1988 academic year. On-site questionnaires were administered in each of the four years of high school, starting in the Spring of 1988. The surveys included detailed questions about students' work and volunteer experiences, as well as experiences in their family, school, and peer group, with an emphasis on the ways that working affected other life domains. Students rated their own intelligence and academic abilities compared to their peers and answered questions about mental health status, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and domestic responsibilities. Shorter surveys containing many of the same topics were administered to students in 1992, 1993, and 1994, and included questions about current family and living arrangements, and employment and volunteer activities. In 1995, a full survey was administered covering the wide range of topics included in the high school surveys as well as information on career plans and life events that had occurred in the past five years. Survey data were also obtained by mail from the parents of the participants during the first and fourth year of the study, when their children were freshmen and seniors. The parents' surveys addressed socioeconomic background as well as attitudes toward teenage employment, their own employment as teenagers, and their experiences in their current employment. Waves 9 through 15 included many of the same questions contained in 1992-1994 surveys. Additionally, these sections focused on the respondents school and work experiences, family relationships such as marital status and children, education level and career preparation, how the respondent learned of his or her job and their level of satisfaction with it, and economic support questions including income level and living expenses. Wave 10 queried respondents on their personal feelings and self-image, environmental behavior and awareness, health issues such as medical conditions and alcohol and/or tobacco use, work related behavior and relationships with coworkers and employers, and rule breaking behavior such as driving under the influence, vandalism, and parking illegally. Wave 11 included additional questions about discrimination and sexual harassment at work, school, and other areas such as housing. They were also asked about the type of discrimination/harassment experienced, and who, if anyone, they notified. Wave 12 topics included employment questions such as hours and days worked, job tasks and responsibilities, and relationships with coworkers. Respondents were also queried about their finances including assets, debt, level of stress from financial obligations, volunteering, relationships such as marriage and divorce, children, the division of household chores, and their relationship with their primary male and female guardian. Respondents were also asked if they had friends to turn to for support and help with making key decisions such as buying a car or changing jobs, life events such as the death of a spouse or romantic partner, being arrested, serious personal injury or illness, and when each of these events occurred. Additional topics included use of alcohol and tobacco, sports participation in high school, political participation, and use of computers and the internet. Demographic variables include student's sex, age, race, education level, religious preference, frequency of religious attendance, marital status, employment status, income, language used at home, and whether they were born in the United States. Demographic information was also collected on each parent's sex, race, education level, marital status, religious preference, employment status, income, whether they were born in the United States, as well as the sex and age of all household members during the student's high school years. Please see the ICPSR User Guide for a detailed listing of the contents of this collection, as well as the variables which have been dropped, masked, or recoded due to disclosure risk.

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  • These data are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Because you are not logged in, we cannot verify that you will be able to download these data.


WARNING: This study is over 150MB in size and may take several minutes to download on a typical internet connection.

DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS8:  Wave 8 (1995): Child Survey - Download All Files (19.8 MB)
DS9:  Wave 1 (1988): Parent Survey - Download All Files (12.1 MB)
DS10:  Wave 4 (1991): Parent Survey - Download All Files (14.1 MB)
DS15:  Wave 13 (2002): Child Survey - Download All Files (31.7 MB)
DS16:  Wave 14 (2003): Child Survey - Download All Files (20.5 MB)
DS17:  Wave 15 (2004): Child Survey - Download All Files (31.9 MB)

Study Description


Mortimer, Jeylan T. Youth Development Study, 1988-2004 [St. Paul, Minnesota]. ICPSR24881-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2012-09-28. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR24881.v2

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   academic achievement, adolescents, alcohol consumption, career planning, computer use, delinquent behavior, discrimination, education, educational objectives, employment, environmental attitudes, family life, family relationships, family work relationship, financial assets, friendships, health problems, health status, housework, internet, job history, job performance, job stress, life events, life plans, military service, occupations, parent child relationship, parental attitudes, parental influence, political participation, race, religion, religious behavior, self concept, social life, sports participation, students, tobacco use, volunteers, work, work attitudes, work environment, work experience, youths

Geographic Coverage:   Minnesota, St. Paul, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1988--2004

Date of Collection:  

  • 1988--2004

Unit of Observation:   individual

Universe:   Students enrolled in the ninth grade in the St. Paul Public School District in Minnesota in the fall of 1987.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Out of 1,139 participants, survey procedures differed for 129 Hmong youths due to language difficulties. Since the factor structure of standard mental health survey instruments differed for the Hmong and the non-Hmong youth, investigators should exercise caution in making comparisons. Separate analyses of Hmong and non-Hmong samples were conducted. The data regarding response are from the non-Hmong panel.

On-site questionnaires were administered to students in each of the four years of high school in the Spring (April 1988, April 1989, April 1990, April 1991) and continued through the school year. Students not available for two scheduled survey administrations in each school were sent surveys by mail. Parents of the participating students were surveyed by mail in 1988 and 1991, with the exception of the parents of Hmong students, who were not surveyed in 1991. From 1992 to 2004, with the exceptions of 1996 and 2001, students were resurveyed each Spring by mail.

Please see the ICPSR User Guide for a detailed listing of the contents of this collection, as well as the variables which have been dropped, masked, or recoded due to disclosure risk.

Parent and child files can be linked by the variable FAMID.

Additional information on this study can be found at the Youth Development Study (YDS) Web site.


Sample:   Students were randomly selected from a list of all ninth graders attending the St. Paul Public Schools in the Fall of 1987.

Mode of Data Collection:   mail questionnaire, on-site questionnaire

Response Rates:   In 1988, 64 percent of students invited agreed to participate (N = 1,139). By 1991, 93 percent of the non-Hmong panel and 80 percent of the Hmong panel were retained. In 1988, 96 percent of the participating non-Hmong youth were covered by at least one parent and 79 percent were covered by 1991. Among the Hmong youth, 84 percent were covered by at least one participating parent in 1988. By 1995, 77.6 percent of the non-Hmong panel were retained. Response rates for waves 9 through 15 of the child survey are as follows: Waves 9 - 12 78.6% (1997), 75.8% (1998), 72.4% (1999), and 75.8% (2000). Response rates for waves 13 through 15 of the child survey are as follows: Wave 13 71.9 (2002), Wave 14 71% (2003), and Wave 15 73.4% (2004).

Presence of Common Scales:   The survey items were drawn from a variety of prior studies: Youth in Transition Study (Bachman), Quality of Employment Survey (Quinn and Staines), and the Study of Occupations (Kohn and Schooler). The survey contains standard mental health scales: Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale Pearlin Mastery Scale depressive affect from the "Current Health Insurance Study Mental Health Battery" (Ware, et al.).

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2012-09-28 Waves 1 through 8 Child Survey and Waves 1 and 4 of the Parent Survey have been updated. Waves 9 through 15 of the Child Survey have been added.

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