Mechanisms of the effect of involuntary retirement on older adults' health and mental health

TitleMechanisms of the effect of involuntary retirement on older adults' health and mental health
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsRhee, M-K
AdvisorMor Barak, ME
Number of Pages116
Date Published2013
UniversityUniversity of Southern California
CityLos Angeles
Thesis TypePh.D.
Accession Number1497284030
KeywordsHealth Conditions and Status, Healthcare, Methodology, Other, Public Policy, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction

The purpose of the present study is to provide in-depth information on older adults' experience of involuntary retirement by examining mechanisms of the effect of involuntary retirement on self-rated health and mental health among adults aged 50 years or older. Although it is a normative expectation to perceive retirement as a phase of life in which older adults become disengaged from paid work, volunteer, and enjoy leisure time with family, not everyone has the luxury of maintaining control over their retirement decisions. Approximately one third of retirees perceive their retirement as forced rather than voluntary. Involuntary retirees are likely to face greater challenges than voluntary retirees during their postretirement adjustment period because they have multiple burdens of health, mental health, and job displacement issues that may have partially led them to involuntarily retire. The prevalence of involuntary retirement is likely to increase because older adults are expected to work longer due to increased financial responsibility despite the challenge of securing or maintaining employment. Although an expanding body of research has addressed various topics of retirement including preretirement planning and decision making, relatively few studies on retirement have focused on the voluntariness of retirement or its varied contexts. Research that has explored health and mental health outcomes after retirement without accounting for voluntariness has reported mixed findings. Considering the fact that retirement has become a more complex and diverse life transition, it is critical to consider the nature of retirement as well as its contexts. To fill this gap of knowledge in research and practice, this study had two specific aims: (1) to explore the prevalence of involuntary retirement among older adults and the extent to which the characteristics of involuntary retirees are different from voluntary retirees or those who did not retire, and (2) to investigate the mechanisms of the health and mental health effect of involuntary retirement by examining the potential mediating effects of financial control, positive and negative family relationships, and social integration. The research questions and hypotheses were formulated based on the life course perspective and latent deprivation theory. Using two waves of longitudinal data extracted from Health and Retirement Study (2006 and 2010), a final sample of 1,280 individuals working for pay at baseline who responded to a lifestyle questionnaire in both waves was selected. Univariate, bivariate, and regression-based path analyses were conducted using SPSS 18.0. This study employed a multiple mediation model that considered four mediators simultaneously and the model was estimated in three phases. Results of the study found that 29.3% (n = 429) of the sample retired between 2006 and 2010, and 37.2% (n = 155) of those individuals reported that they retired involuntarily. Results of Phase 1, a multiple mediator model that did not account for voluntariness of retirement using a binary independent variable (retired or not), indicated that there was no significant direct or indirect effects of retirement on self-rated health and mental health outcomes. In Phase 2, in which the same model was estimated using a multicategorical independent variable (involuntarily retired, voluntarily retired, not retired), involuntary retirement had an direct adverse health effect compared to not retiring, whereas voluntary retirement had an indirect positive health effect via financial control. In terms of mental health outcomes, the positive mental health effect of voluntary retirement was mediated by financial control, whereas involuntary retirement had no significant effect. Results of Phase 3, a model that considered retirees only, revealed direct adverse health effects of involuntary retirement compared to voluntary retirement. Involuntary retirement also had an indirect effect on mental health via financial control. Findings of this stu y indicate the significance of specifying the nature of retirement when conducting retirement research and the need to pay more attention to potential detrimental effects of involuntary retirement. Implications of the findings are discussed with regard to retirement policy, research, and social work.


Copyright - Copyright ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing 2013 Last updated - 2014-03-18 First page - n/a

Endnote Keywords

0452:Social work

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Short TitleMechanisms of the effect of involuntary retirement on older adults' health and mental health
Citation Key6066