Young at heart, old at work? Relations between age, (meta-)stereotypes, self-categorization, and retirement attitudes

P. Matthijs Bal, Annet H. de Lange, Beatrice I. J. M. Van der Heijden, Hannes Zacher, Frank Oderkerk, Sabine Otten

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The aims of this study were to examine how workers’ negative age stereotypes (i.e., denying older workers’ ability to develop) and negative meta-stereotypes (i.e., beliefs that the majority of colleagues feel negative about older workers) are related to their attitudes toward retirement (i.e., occupational future time perspective and intention to retire), and whether the strength of these relationships is influenced by workers’ self-categorization as an “older” person. Results of a study among Dutch taxi drivers provided mixed support for the hypotheses. Negative meta-stereotypes, but not negative age stereotypes, were associated with fewer perceived opportunities until retirement and, in turn, a stronger intention to retire. Self-categorization moderated the relationships between negative age (meta-)stereotypes and occupational future time perspective. However, contrary to expectations, the relations were stronger among workers with a low self-categorization as an older person in comparison with workers with a high self-categorization in this regard. Overall, results highlight the importance of psychosocial processes in the study of retirement intentions and their antecedents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Early online date7 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


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