Healthcare and Medicine Reference
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Maestas and Li (2007) studied what happened to workers who retire
early because of burnout. They write that because burnout rises with
continued exposure to stress at work, it should peak just prior to
retirement, then decline after the individual leaves the workplace. An
individual for whom burnout is high enough to induce retirement may
later un-retire if he or she experiences boredom and believes that return-
ing to work will outweigh any negative consequences of working. This
notion of un-retiring should help many older workers experiencing burn-
out to realize that the desire to work often returns in time, and that
retirement decisions based entirely on burnout may suggest that, leaves of
absence, requests for work assignment changes, and cycling over to other
types of work may be alternatives to retirement. Keep in mind that it may
be more difficult to return to work, at least stimulating work, after you
retire because breaks in a work record are often felt by employers to be a
bad sign.
Forced retirement or retirement in which workers are given strong
messages that they are unwanted have both been associated with greater
difficulties in adjusting ( Atchley, 1982; Walker, Kimmel, & Price, 1981 ),
lower satisfaction with retirement ( Isaksson, 1997 ), adverse psychological
reactions ( Sharpley & Layton, 1998 ), and increased stress ( Isaksson, 1997;
Sharpley & Layton, 1998 ).
Individuals who are forced to retire because of ill health, predictably
report lower levels of morale ( Braithwaite, Gibson, & Bosly-Craft, 1986 ),
higher stress scores ( BossĀ“, Aldwin, Levenson, & Workman-Daniels,
1991 ), and are at greater risk for emotional difficulties ( Sharpley &
Layton, 1998 ). Martin Mathews & Brown (1988) found that the lower
the socioeconomic status of men, the more negative the impact of retire-
ment overall, often because of a lack of planning, lower post-retirement
income, early health problems, and few alternatives to work. Also, indivi-
duals who experience a substantial loss of income during retirement tend
to experience poor morale ( Richardson & Kilty, 1991 ) and poor adjust-
ment (Palmore, Fillenbaum, & George, 1985). Many people who find
their retirement plans changed because companies no longer honor pen-
sion plans or have grossly changed pension plans also report lower satisfac-
tion with retirement and greater levels of stress.
Fletcher and Hansson (1991) found that retirees who expected to have
very little personal control over their lives during retirement not only had
more negative views of retirement but also feared the event. Glamser
(1976) found that those expecting retirement to be a positive experience
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