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Involuntary retirement, bridge employment, and satisfaction with life: A longitudinal investigation

Authors

  • Ellen Dingemans,

    Corresponding author
    1. Work and Retirement Department, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands
    • Correspondence to: Ellen Dingemans, Work and Retirement Department, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI), The Hague, The Netherlands. E-mail: dingemans@nidi.nl

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  • Kène Henkens

    1. Work and Retirement Department, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Summary

The increased popularity of bridge employment has raised questions about its consequences for well-being in late adult life. This research explored the consequences of bridge employment for the level of life satisfaction of older adults during the retirement transition period. Changes in life satisfaction were considered to be a function of the different intentions and motives for taking bridge jobs. Furthermore, the impact of bridge employment was empirically examined conditional on the voluntariness of the exit from the career job. Panel data on Dutch retirees (N = 1248) were investigated using conditional change models. The results demonstrate that older adults willing to prolong their work careers but unable to find bridge jobs reported lower levels of life satisfaction compared with full retirees not considering bridge employment. In addition, participation in bridge employment for financial motives was associated with decreases in life satisfaction compared with postretirement working based on intrinsic motives. Moreover, compared with voluntary retirement, involuntary retirement was detrimental to life satisfaction, but participation in a bridge job was found to mitigate this negative shock. These findings contribute to the understanding of the consequences of various postretirement employment trajectories for older individuals. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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