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Psychosocial factors in retirement intentions and adjustment: a multi-sample study

Gabriela Topa (Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, UNED, Madrid, Spain)
Carlos-María Alcover (Department of Psychology, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 10 August 2015




Retirement adjustment is the process by which aged workers become accustomed to the changed facts of life in the transition from work to retirement and develop psychological well-being in their post-working life. The purpose of this paper is to explore the psychosocial factors that significantly explain retirement intentions and retirement adjustment, using two separate empirical studies.


Retirement self-efficacy, low work involvement, older worker identity and relative deprivation significantly explained retirement intentions (bridge employment engagement, part-time retirement, late retirement and full retirement) of workers over 60 years (Study 1, n=157). Retirement adjustment indices (retirement satisfaction, feelings of anxiety and depression) were associated with psychosocial factors for retirees (Study 2, n=218).


The findings highlight that retirement self-efficacy and older worker identity positively and significantly explained both full retirement of aged workers and retirement satisfaction of retirees. Relative deprivation negatively significantly explained partial and late retirement intentions and retirement satisfaction of retirees.

Research limitations/implications

The implications of these studies are discussed for understanding retirement planning and counselling practice.

Practical implications

Retirement adjustment conceptualized as a process has important implications for retirement planning, and consequently can influence the project of the life course, as well as career’s decisions.

Social implications

Social contexts should consider all factors that can negatively affect self-efficacy, work involvement and identity of employees in the mid and late-career stages, and thus contribute to reinforce and strengthen personal and psychosocial resources involved in planning and adaptation to retirement, and to increase the insight into the planning and decisions older workers make to face retirement.


This work had two goals, pursued by two empirical studies with two samples: workers over 60 years, and retirees. The authors contend that the availability of two different sets of data increases the generalizability of the findings.



Topa, G. and Alcover, C.-M. (2015), "Psychosocial factors in retirement intentions and adjustment: a multi-sample study", Career Development International, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 384-408.



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