Antecedents of bridge employment: a longitudinal investigation

Mo Wang, Yujie Zhan, Songqi Liu, Kenneth S. Shultz

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225 Citations (Scopus)


Bridge employment is the labor force participation pattern increasingly observed in older workers between their career jobs and their complete labor force withdrawal. It serves as a transition process from career employment to full retirement. Typical bridge employment decisions include full retirement, career bridge employment, and bridge employment in a different field. In the current study, 3 dominant theories (i.e., role theory, continuity theory, and life course perspective) on retirement processes were reviewed. On the basis of these theories, the authors proposed 4 categories of antecedents (i.e., individual attributes, job-related psychological variables, family-related variables, and a retirement-planning-related variable) of different types of bridge employment decisions. The authors used longitudinal data of a large, nationally representative sample from the Health and Retirement Study (F. Juster & R. Suzman, 1995) to test the current hypotheses. These data were analyzed with multinomial logistic regression, and most of the hypotheses were supported by the results. The implications of this study are discussed at both theoretical and practical levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-830
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • bridge employment
  • continuity theory
  • life course perspective
  • retirement
  • role theory

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