Facilitators and Moderators of Psychological Disengagement among Older Workers: The Contribution of Group Status, Meaning of Work and Collective Self-Esteem

By Joelle Laplante, Francine Tougas, Martine Lagacé and Christian R. Bellehumeur.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study was conducted via questionnaire among high status (224 nurses) and lower status (71 civil servants) older workers. The first goal was to determine whether the meaning of work (job, career or calling) and collective self-esteem (public and membership esteem) facilitate or prevent psychological disengagement which includes two mechanisms: the discounting of feedback received and the devaluing of the domain. Results show that seeing one’s work as a job or a career leads to greater discounting, whereas a calling is negatively associated with devaluing; membership esteem leads to less discounting and public esteem is associated with less devaluing. The second goal was to establish whether group status (high vs. low status) moderates the progression through psychological disengagement, i.e., from discounting to devaluing. As predicted, discounting was more strongly linked to devaluing among older workers in a lower status occupation. Implications of these results are discussed from theoretical and practical perspectives. The latter focuses on results suggesting ways to reduce if not eliminate recourse to psychological disengagement.

Keywords: Psychological Disengagement, Older Workers, Meaning of Work, Collective Self-Esteem, Group Status

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.195-208. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 778.330KB).

Dr. Joelle Laplante

Doctoral Candidate, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Francine Tougas

School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Martine Lagacé

Department of Communication, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Christian R. Bellehumeur

full-time professor, Faculty of Human Sciences, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Christian Bellehumeur (Ph.D. social psychology, University of Ottawa) is a full-time professor in the Human Sciences faculty, at Saint Paul University (Ottawa), and teaches in the graduate program in Counseling and Spirituality. He is also a trained counsellor and member of the Canadian Counselling Association. Furthermore, he has published scientific articles in communications, counseling and psychology.

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