Research Summaries - Age and occupation wellbeing

Age and occupational wellbeing

By Hannes Zacher, Nerina Jimmieson and Prashant Bordia


Previous research has found that people in their late 20s through to early 40s tend to be less satisfied with their jobs and more emotionally exhausted than workers who are younger than 25 or older than 45.

What was done?

This research looked at a number of factors that are thought to explain this phenomena:

  • Time pressure (negative effects),
  • Work-Home conflict (negative effects), and
  • Coworker support (positive effects).

What did they find? 

Based on data collected from 771 employees in the construction industry it was found that:

  • Workers aged around 25-45 experience greater levels of time pressure and less coworker support than younger and older workers.
  • Time pressure and a lack of coworker support have a direct, negative impact on job satisfaction and emotional exhaustion in workers aged around 25-45.
  • Work-home conflict did not have an impact (positive or negative) on job satisfaction or emotional exhaustion on workers aged 25-45.

What does this mean?

Indicators of well-being in the workplace, such as job satisfaction and emotional exhaustion effect, not only an individual's quality of life, but also impact on their job performance and their intentions to stay with an organisation.

Managers who are able to reduce time pressure and increase perceived coworker support for workers in their late 20s to early 40s may also be able to increase job satisfaction and the likelihood of retention of these workers, as well as enhancing the performance of workers in this age range.

This summary is based on the paper:

 Zacher, H., Jimmieson, N., and Bordia, P. (2014). Time Pressure and Coworker Support Mediate the Curvilinear relationship Between Age and Occupational Well-Being. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 19(4), 462-475. doi:10.1037/a0036995

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