IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Getting Older and Getting Happier with Work: An Information-Processing Explanation


  • Joseph Luchman


  • Seth Kaplan
  • Reeshad Dalal


Job attitudes and subjective well-being (SWB) have important relationships with one another. Moreover, job attitudes and, to an extent, SWB are related to chronological age. Owing to a “graying” workforce in industrialized countries, uncovering how age influences job attitudes is increasingly important. The present work explores the effects of cognitive-aging research on the item response process during attitude measurement. Research finds that older individuals attend selectively to positive affective experiences and weigh affective experiences more heavily during judgment than younger individuals. Based on cognitive-aging research, we propose an item-response process and hypothesize that chronological age results in a specific form of measurement non-equivalence. Our hypothesis is tested on 2 different samples of university employees, across 3 different job attitudes rooted in emotional experiences. Results indicate age-related measurement non-equivalence across all 3 attitudes such that older employees report more positive job attitudes than younger employees even when controlling for the latent attitude construct. Our findings suggest caution in interpreting of age-satisfaction correlations, focusing greater attention on understanding item response processes of older versus younger individuals and increased attention to job-related emotional experience for older employees. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Luchman & Seth Kaplan & Reeshad Dalal, 2012. "Getting Older and Getting Happier with Work: An Information-Processing Explanation," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 108(3), pages 535-552, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:108:y:2012:i:3:p:535-552
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-011-9892-8

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hui-Chuan Hsu, 2010. "Trajectory of Life Satisfaction and its Relationship with Subjective Economic Status and Successful Aging," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 99(3), pages 455-468, December.
    2. Chaonan Chen, 2001. "Aging and Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 57-79, April.
    3. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Warr, Peter B., 1994. "Is job satisfaction u-shaped in age ?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9407, CEPREMAP.
    4. Gerben Westerhof & Freya Dittmann-Kohli & Toine Thissen, 2001. "Beyond Life Satisfaction: Lay Conceptions of Well-Being among Middle-Aged and Elderly Adults," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 56(2), pages 179-203, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Heike Heidemeier & Anja Göritz, 2013. "Individual Differences in How Work and Nonwork Life Domains Contribute to Life Satisfaction: Using Factor Mixture Modeling for Classification," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(6), pages 1765-1788, December.
    2. repec:rss:jnljms:v6i6p1 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Nicole M. Giacopelli & Kaila M. Simpson & Reeshad S. Dalal & Kristen L. Randolph & Samantha J. Holland, 2013. "Maximizing as a predictor of job satisfaction and performance: A tale of three scales," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(4), pages 448-469, July.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:108:y:2012:i:3:p:535-552. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.