The role of bridge employment in the relationship between personality and retirement adjustment : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Masters of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
New Zealand’s older population is increasing, meaning that increased research needs to be undertaken to consider older individual’s needs. The present study uses the resource-based dynamic perspective postulated by Wang, Henkens and van Solinge (2011) to examine the relationship between bridge employment, personality and retirement adjustment. It was hypothesised that personality traits (as represented by the Five-Factor Model (FFM)) would be positively related to engagement in bridge employment; and that they would also influence wellbeing in retirement (retirement adjustment). The study also explored whether bridge employment mediated the relationship between personality and retirement adjustment. This study used longitudinal data from the New Zealand Aotearoa Health, Work and Retirement (HWR) study and focused on older adults aged of 55-70. The HWR postal survey included questions about socio-demographics, personality, employment and well-being.
Results in the present study show that bridge employment was not significantly related to personality. The traits of neuroticism and conscientiousness were found to significantly relate to retirement adjustment in a hierarchical regression model. Economic standard of living, age and time spent in retirement were also found to be associated with retirement adjustment in the same model. Bridge employment was not found to mediate the relationship between personality and retirement adjustment. The findings indicate that individual’s personality traits have no bearing on whether they decide to engage in bridge employment. Individuals high in conscientiousness appear to adjust to retirement more easily compared to individuals low in conscientiousness. Similarly, individuals with high neuroticism appear to find it more difficult to adjust to retirement than individuals with low neuroticism. The findings also indicate that individuals find it easier to adjust to retirement with higher socioeconomic status; indicating the importance of access to resources in retirement. Additionally, the present study provides evidence that the longer that individuals spend in retirement, the more likely it is that they will adjust to the retirement process. Implications for future research are discussed with an emphasis on motivations and reasons for bridge employment, and other variables to consider in the fields of bridge employment and retirement adjustment.