Work hours, retirement, and supportive relations among older adults

While the literature widely acknowledges the importance of social support to the health, well-being, and performance of older adults, little is known about the way in which occupational conditions affect older employees' access to social support over time and whether these effects are maintained after retirement. Accordingly, in the current study we examine the degree to which work hours have longer term effects on the amount and type of support older individuals receive from intimate coworkers, family, and non-work friends, and whether these effects are attenuated or intensified for those who retire. Longitudinal data were collected from a random sample of members of nine unions, six months prior to their retirement eligibility (T1) and approximately one year after Time 1 (T2). Our findings indicate that while retirement attenuates the positive association between Time 1 work hours and subsequent coworkers' support as well as the negative relationship between Time 1 work hours and subsequent non-work friends support, retirement fails to attenuate the negative effect of Time 1 work hours on subsequent family support. Policy implications are discussed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.