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Gerontologist. 2005 Feb;45(1):36-47.

Predictors of perceptions of involuntary retirement.

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  • 1Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Hofheimer Hall, Suite 201, 825 Fairfax Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23507-1912, USA. szinovme@evms.edu



Retirement is often treated as a voluntary transition, yet selected circumstances can restrict choice in retirement decision processes. We investigated conditions under which retirees perceive their retirement as "forced" rather than "wanted."


Analyses relied on Waves 1-4 of the Health and Retirement Survey (N=1,160; 572 men and 588 women). Logistic regression models estimated the effects of background factors, choice and restricted choice conditions, and retirement contexts on perceptions of forced retirement.


Nearly one third of older workers perceived their retirement as forced. Such forced retirement reflects restricted choice through health limitations, job displacement, and care obligations. Other predictors include marital status, race, assets, benefits, job tenure, and off-time retirement.


Future research should establish personal and policy implications of forced retirement. Programs are needed to help older workers forced into retirement find alternative employment opportunities and to reduce the conditions leading to forced retirement.

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