The moderating effects of job control and selection, optimization, and compensation strategies on the age–work ability relationship

Authors

  • Matthias Weigl,

    Corresponding author
    • Institute for Occupational, Social, and Environmental Medicine, Medical Faculty, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Munich, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Matthias Weigl and Andreas Müller contributed equally to this work.
  • Andreas Müller,

    Corresponding author
    • Institute for Occupational Medicine and Social Medicine, Medical Faculty, Düsseldorf University, Düsseldorf, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Matthias Weigl and Andreas Müller contributed equally to this work.
  • Severin Hornung,

    1. Department of Management and Marketing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, SAR, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Hannes Zacher,

    1. School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Peter Angerer

    1. Institute for Occupational Medicine and Social Medicine, Medical Faculty, Düsseldorf University, Düsseldorf, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author

Correspondence to: Matthias Weigl, Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social, and Environmental Medicine, Medical Faculty, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Ziemssenstrasse 1, 80336 Munich, Germany. E-mail: matthias.weigl@med.lmu.de

Andreas Müller, Institute for Occupational Medicine and Social Medicine, Medical Faculty, Düsseldorf University, Düsseldorf, Germany. E-mail: andreas.mueller@uni-duesseldorf.de

Summary

Work ability describes employees' capability to carry out their work with respect to physical and psychological job demands. This study investigated direct and interactive effects of age, job control, and the use of successful aging strategies called selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC) in predicting work ability. We assessed SOC strategies and job control by using employee self-reports, and we measured employees' work ability using supervisor ratings. Data collected from 173 health-care employees showed that job control was positively associated with work ability. Additionally, we found a three-way interaction effect of age, job control, and use of SOC strategies on work ability. Specifically, the negative relationship between age and work ability was weakest for employees with high job control and high use of SOC strategies. These results suggest that the use of successful aging strategies and enhanced control at work are conducive to maintaining the work ability of aging employees. We discuss theoretical and practical implications regarding the beneficial role of the use of SOC strategies utilized by older employees and enhanced contextual resources at work for aging employees. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ancillary