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Burnout and older workers' intentions to retire


  • Kène Henkens
  • Monique Leenders


Purpose - The central theme of this article is early retirement intentions and burnout among older workers. The paper aims to investigate whether there is a relationship between the burnout dimensions exhaustion, cynicism and competence and retirement intentions. Design/methodology/approach - The data were taken from a survey held among Dutch older workers (50+) and their spouses ( Findings - The results show that a high workload, heavy physical work, lack of challenge, autonomy and social support from colleagues and managers are related to burnout complaints, although in a different way for the three dimensions. The results show that besides the effect of burnout, retirement intentions are related to the level of marital quality. Older workers who report a higher level of marital quality report a stronger intention to retire. Burnout and retirement intentions are related, but appear to have partly different predictors. While burnout can generally be explained by the work environment, non-work related factors enhance the understanding of retirement intentions. Originality/value - This study shows that actual retirement is often preceded by feelings of burnout, in particular a mental detachment from work and feelings of exhaustion.

Suggested Citation

  • Kène Henkens & Monique Leenders, 2010. "Burnout and older workers' intentions to retire," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 306-321, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:31:y:2010:i:3:p:306-321

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nicole Maestas & Xiaoyan Li, 2007. "Burnout and the Retirement Decision," Working Papers wp166, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
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