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The effects of work-life balance on the well-being of older workers: same-same or same-different?

Jarrod Haar (Department of Management, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Candice Harris (Department of Management, Faculty of Business and Law, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Barbara Myers (Department of Management, Faculty of Business and Law, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 15 August 2023

Issue publication date: 14 May 2024

538

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to extend the study of work-life balance (WLB) by exploring the influence of WLB amongst older workers. Theoretically, this study suggests that the psychological benefits of age on relationships between WLB and well-being might be stronger for those “younger” older workers than those working toward or beyond retirement age. This study tests a moderated mediation model whereby the effects of WLB on anxiety and depression (through job stress) are moderated by age.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data from 512 New Zealand employees in three older age cohorts (55–59 years, 60–64 and 65+ years).

Findings

This study finds that WLB reduces job stress and leads to lower anxiety and depression. Job stress positively influences anxiety and depression and partially mediates the influence of WLB. Significant interaction effects are found by age, with the lower age cohort (55–59 years) reporting the strongest benefits from WLB and this effect reduces as employees get older but remains significant.

Social implications

Even when focusing on older workers, the findings show younger older workers elicit stronger benefits from WLB toward well-being, although all age groups find WLB beneficial.

Originality/value

This paper offers novel insights into the question of whether the importance of WLB for well-being differs among older workers.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Since acceptance of this article, the following author have updated the affiliations: Jarrod Haar is at the Department of Management, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand.

Citation

Haar, J., Harris, C. and Myers, B. (2024), "The effects of work-life balance on the well-being of older workers: same-same or same-different?", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 484-499. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-04-2022-0181

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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