Professional and psychosocial factors affecting the intention to retire of Australian medical practitioners

Chanaka Wijeratne*, Joanne K. Earl, Carmelle Peisah, Georgina M. Luscombe, Johanna Tibbertsma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine the professional and personal factors associated with the intention to retire (ITR) by medical practitioners. Design, participants and setting: Cross-sectional survey of currently practising Australian doctors aged 55 or older registered with a commercial database. Participants completed an online self-report questionnaire in October 2015. Main outcome measures: Associations between intention to retire and demographic and practice characteristics; health; emotional, social and financial resources; work centrality; and anxiety about ageing. Results: 62.0% of 1048 respondents (17.5% response rate) intended to retire, 11.4% had no intention of retiring and 26.6% were unsure. The odds of retiring were higher for those with adequate financial resources (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.31; 95% CI, 1.18-1.44) and greater anxiety about ageing (aOR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.02-1.09); the odds of retiring were lower for international medical graduates (aOR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.44-0.85), for those with greater work centrality (aOR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.85e 0.92) and greater emotional resources (aOR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.93-0.98). In amodel including medical specialty as a variable, being a psychiatrist (aOR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.20-0.79) or general practitioner (aOR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.34e0.87) were associated with reduced odds of intending to retire. Conclusion: Intention to retire was determined by a mixture of professional and psychosocial characteristics. In particular, our results support the view that delaying retirement by doctors may be related to the primacy of work compared with other life roles. Our results may be used to develop educational programs that support the transition to and improve adjustment to retirement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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