• age;
  • job control;
  • selection, optimization, compensation;
  • work ability


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.