Date of Conferral





Health Services


David Stein


Increasing numbers of older adults are expected to return to the labor force to reap both the financial and social rewards of paid employment. However, little is known about how the workplace supports older workers' successful aging process. The purpose of this study was to examine how the design of a job (opportunities for decision making, use of a variety of skills, coworker support, and supervisor support) influences successful aging (having a sense of control over life, social networks, emotional support, and opportunities for generativity) in older workers (aged 55 and older) in the home building industry. The study explored the relationship between two broad constructs: a model of successful aging and the demand control model of healthy job design. In a cross-sectional, survey design, a convenience sample of 109 older workers completed the Job Content Questionnaire, Social Network scale, Emotional Support scale, Mirowsky-Ross 2 X 2 Index of Sense of Control, and Loyola Generativity Scale. Results of multiple regression analyses indicated that job design influenced two measures of successful aging: generativity and personal sense of control. Job design contributed to 23% of the variance in generativity and 15.5% of the variance in personal sense of control. The job design characteristics of skill variety and coworker support were most important to successful aging. It was recommended that managers design jobs for older workers that incorporate opportunities to use a variety of skills, work collaboratively with others, and offer mentoring experiences. This study contributes to social change by promoting the workplace as a naturally occurring social institution that supports successful aging for older workers.