Retirees’ Participation in Bridge Employment and Psychological Distress: The Mediating and Moderating Effects of Social Support

Xiaoyu Annie Gong, McGill University

Many people who retire from long-term career jobs now seek post-retirement employment before completely exiting the labor force. However, little attempt has been made to understand whether working after retirement is associated with better psychological well-being. The purpose of this study is threefold: 1) to examine whether retirees’ participation in bridge employment status is associated with psychological distress; 2) to determine whether social support mediates and/or moderate the relationship between retirees’ employment status and their psychological distress. Data from the 2004 National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP) indicate that retirees engaged in paid work have lower psychological distress than those not working. However, the difference in psychological distress is largely a function of differences in educational achievement, wealth and disability. Perceived support from friends is both a mediator and moderator of the relationship between retirees’ employment status and their psychological distress.

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 Presented in Session 23. Psychosocial Factors in Aging