Does gradual retirement have better outcomes than abrupt retirement? Results from an Australian panel study

de Vaus, David, Wells, Yvonne, Kendig, Hal and Quine, Susan (2007) Does gradual retirement have better outcomes than abrupt retirement? Results from an Australian panel study. Ageing and Society, 27 5: 667-682. doi:10.1017/S0144686X07006228

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Author de Vaus, David
Wells, Yvonne
Kendig, Hal
Quine, Susan
Title Does gradual retirement have better outcomes than abrupt retirement? Results from an Australian panel study
Journal name Ageing and Society   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0144-686X
1469-1779
Publication date 2007-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0144686X07006228
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 27
Issue 5
Start page 667
End page 682
Total pages 16
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language eng
Abstract Conventional wisdom promotes gradual retirement rather than an abrupt end to the working life. This paper compares the outcomes of abrupt and gradual retirement one and three years after the transition to retirement began using data from an Australian panel study. The outcomes included changes in health, positive and negative affect, wellbeing and marital cohesion. For many outcomes there was no difference between gradual and abrupt retirements, but those who retired abruptly were more likely to rate their health as having deteriorated and more likely to report better adjustment to retirement. Control over retirement decisions was also explored; it emerged as a more important factor in retirement wellbeing than whether the transition was gradual or abrupt. The absence of interaction or additive effects between the retirement pathway and the level of control over the process confirmed this result. Thus there is no simple answer to the question in the title. Retiring gradually allows time for people to make changes to their lifestyle, but having control over the timing and manner of leaving work had a greater positive impact on psychological and social wellbeing, and this persisted three years after retirement. The findings suggest that policies and employment practices that promote employees' control of their retirement decisions will enhance wellbeing in later life and facilitate longer workforce participation.Conventional wisdom promotes gradual retirement rather than an abrupt end to the working life. This paper compares the outcomes of abrupt and gradual retirement one and three years after the transition to retirement began using data from an Australian panel study. The outcomes included changes in health, positive and negative affect, wellbeing and marital cohesion. For many outcomes there was no difference between gradual and abrupt retirements, but those who retired abruptly were more likely to rate their health as having deteriorated and more likely to report better adjustment to retirement. Control over retirement decisions was also explored; it emerged as a more important factor in retirement wellbeing than whether the transition was gradual or abrupt. The absence of interaction or additive effects between the retirement pathway and the level of control over the process confirmed this result. Thus there is no simple answer to the question in the title. Retiring gradually allows time for people to make changes to their lifestyle, but having control over the timing and manner of leaving work had a greater positive impact on psychological and social wellbeing, and this persisted three years after retirement. The findings suggest that policies and employment practices that promote employees' control of their retirement decisions will enhance wellbeing in later life and facilitate longer workforce participation. © Cambridge University Press 2007.
Keyword Control
Pathways
Retirement
Transitions
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 52 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 43 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 20 Dec 2010, 23:40:11 EST by Cheryl Byrnes on behalf of Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences