Leaving work and wellbeing: beyond an average effect

Publication type

Conference Paper


Understanding Society Scientific Conference 2015, 21-23 July 2015, University of Essex, Colchester, UK


Publication date

July 22, 2015


Working is a major part of one’s life. Most of us work, and then we stop at some point later in life. Leaving work can be seen as one of the major life-changing events which affect one’s health, social relations, financial situation and allocation of time. There are many reasons why people stop working: illnesses or disability, forced to be family care giver, being laid-off, early retirement, or statutory retirement. These differences in the pathways of leaving work may lead to different outcomes of individual’s wellbeing. In addition, economists and psychologists have highlighted that individual react differently to life events. The differences in individual’s personality traits possibly provide an explanation.
We examine whether differences in pathways and personality traits can account for differences in how well people cope with leaving work. We conduct our study with data from the British Household Panel Survey, analysing the individuals who are 50-70 years old at the time of interviews. This research aims to identify the causal effects of the different pathways of leaving work on wellbeing, using fixed-effect panel-data methods. The results show that the pathways of leaving work lead to different outcomes of individual’s overall life satisfaction, income satisfaction and leisure satisfaction. In addition, the paper reveals the roles of the Big 5 personality traits using interactions between each personality traits and the pathways. Our findings suggest that agreeableness; extraversion and conscientiousness may significantly augment or mitigate the effect of the pathways of leaving work on individual’s wellbeing.




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