The role of personal characteristics, work environment and context in working beyond retirement: a mixed-methods study: a mixed-methods study

G. Lennart van der Zwaan, Karen M. Oude Hengel, Ranu Sewdas, Astrid de Wind, Romy Steenbeek, Allard J. van der Beek, Cécile R. L. Boot

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Objective: To investigate the role of personal characteristics, work environment and context in working beyond retirement. Methods: In the current study, a mixed-methods design was applied including quantitative survey data and semi-structured telephone interviews. Respondents (N = 568) were selected from the Study on Transitions in Employment, Ability and Motivation (STREAM). Personal characteristics, work characteristics and contextual factors were measured using a questionnaire at baseline. Concurrently, qualitative data of 30 persons aged over 65 years were gathered. Logistic regression analyses were used to identify quantitative associations and thematic analyses were used for qualitative purposes. Results: Quantitative data revealed that being in good physical health (OR = 1.80), developmental proactivity (OR = 1.38), interesting work (OR = 2.02), appreciation (OR = 1.62) and voluntary work (OR = 1.58) were associated with working beyond the statutory retirement age. Additionally, qualitative findings suggested that working beyond retirement was mainly driven by the desire to contribute to society (e.g., mentor younger coworkers), and identified the employers’ willingness to hire an older worker despite existing stereotypes as an important precondition. Conclusions: Working beyond retirement is influenced by physical health and work characteristics, as well as motivational determinants such as the desire to contribute to society. However, to meet the increasing demands for paid jobs by individuals aged over 65 years, the willingness of employers to actually hire them is crucial. Therefore, recognition and utilization of older workers’ potentials is of great importance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-549
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Aging
  • Bridge employment
  • Labor participation
  • Longitudinal study
  • Retirement

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