Prolonged Working Years: Consequences and Directions for Interventions

  • Gwenith G. Fisher
  • Lindsay H. Ryan
  • Amanda Sonnega
Part of the Aligning Perspectives on Health, Safety and Well-Being book series (AHSW)


There are many economic, social, and psychological reasons why individuals are working longer or until later ages than in decades past. This chapter considers the potential impact—both good and bad—of working longer and proposes interventions aimed at maximizing positive outcomes and mitigating negative ones. We begin with a theoretical framework for understanding consequences of prolonged work. Second, we discuss some reasons for working longer. Third, we describe results from a nationally representative study of older adults in the U.S. Fourth, we review some of the consequences of prolonged work based on empirical research findings. Finally, we describe interventions that should be considered to promote longer work lives and to ameliorate potentially negative consequences of working longer. We conclude with a summary and recommendations for future research.


Age discrimination Autonomy Flexible work arrangements Intervention Job lock Retirement Work ability Extending work lives Older workers Work motivation 



We are grateful to Courtney McCluney and the editors and reviewers for their very helpful comments on an earlier version.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gwenith G. Fisher
    • 1
  • Lindsay H. Ryan
    • 2
  • Amanda Sonnega
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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