The dark side of engagement for older workers

Traci Carse, Barbara Griffin*, Mathew Lyons

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Late-career workers must remain employed for longer, but in doing so face the unique challenge of remaining active and productive at work while not disregarding the need to maintain health and plan for retirement, both of which are necessary for work longevity and successful aging. This study investigated whether work engagement, a motivator of proactive behavior in the work domain, would exhibit a dark side by acting as a de-motivator of proactive behavior in the health and retirement domains. Results from 1917 participants showed that one dimension of engagement, vigor, was positively associated with proactivity across domains. In contrast, absorption, although positively related to proactive behavior at work, was associated with fewer health behaviors and was unrelated to retirement planning.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)161-171
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Personnel Psychology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • engagement
    • older workers
    • retirement planning
    • health behavior


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