Connect
MJA
MJA

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

Chanaka Wijeratne, Joanne K Earl, Carmelle Peisah, Georgina M Luscombe and Johanna Tibbertsma
Med J Aust 2017; 206 (5): 209-214. || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00883

Summary

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, 0.85–0.92) and greater emotional resources (aOR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.93–0.98). In a model 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, 0.34–0.87) 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.

Please login with your free MJA account to view this article in full

  • Chanaka Wijeratne1
  • Joanne K Earl2
  • Carmelle Peisah3
  • Georgina M Luscombe4
  • Johanna Tibbertsma3

  • 1 Euroa Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital and Community Health Services, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 Flinders Business School, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA
  • 3 University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
  • 4 University of Sydney, Orange, NSW


Acknowledgements: 

Financial support for the study was provided by an unrestricted educational grant from Avant Mutual Group.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Who are medical practitioners? Australia's medical workforce: medical professionals in Australia in 2015 [website]. http://www.aihw.gov.au/workforce/medical/who (accessed Apr 2016).
  • 2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Medical labour force 2004 (AIHW Cat. No. HWL 39; National Health Labour Force Series No. 38). Canberra: AIHW, 2006.
  • 3. Draper B, Luscombe G, Winfield S. The Senior Psychiatrist Survey II: experience and psychiatric practice. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 1999; 33: 709-716.
  • 4. Wijeratne C, Peisah C. Accepting the challenges of ageing and retirement in ourselves: the need for psychiatrists to adopt a consensus approach. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2013; 47: 425-430.
  • 5. Draper B, Winfield S, Luscombe G. The older psychiatrist and retirement. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 1997; 12: 233-239.
  • 6. Lee H, Drag L, Bieliauskas L, et al. Results from the Cognitive Changes and Retirement among Senior Surgeons Self-report Study. J Am Coll Surg 2009; 209: 668-671.
  • 7. Martin S. “Freedom 55” closer to age 65 for physicians. CMAJ 2000; 163: 1499.
  • 8. Topa G, Moriano J, Depolo M, et al. Antecedents and consequences of retirement planning and decision-making: a meta-analysis and model. J Voc Behav 2009; 75: 38-55.
  • 9. Sadavoy J. The ageing physician. J Ger Psychiatry 1994; 27: 265-279.
  • 10. Parboteeah K, Cullen J. Social institutions and work centrality: explorations beyond national culture. Org Sci 2003; 14: 137-148.
  • 11. Wrzesniewski A, McCauley C, Rozin P, Schwartz B. Jobs, careers and callings: people’s relations to their work. J Res Pers 1997; 31: 21-33.
  • 12. Watkins R, Coates R, Ferroni P. Measurement of ageing anxiety in an elderly Australian population. Int J Aging Hum Dev 1998; 46: 319-332.
  • 13. Solem P, Syse A, Furunes T, et al. To leave or not to leave: retirement intentions and retirement behaviour. Aging Soc 2016; 36: 259-281.
  • 14. Leung C, Earl J. Retirement Resources Inventory: construction, factor structure and psychometric properties. J Vocat Behav 2012; 81: 171-182.
  • 15. Sangha O, Stucki G, Liang M, et al. The Self-Administered Comorbidity Questionnaire: a new method to assess comorbidity for clinical and health services research. Arthritis Rheum 2003; 49: 156-163.
  • 16. Kessler R, Andrews G, Colpe L, et al. Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and trends in non-specific psychological distress. Psychol Med 2002; 32: 959-976.
  • 17. Lasher K, Faulkender P. Measurement of aging anxiety: development of the Anxiety about Aging Scale. Int J Aging Hum Dev 1993; 37: 247-259.
  • 18. Lim G, Ng L. Early retirement and bridge employment intentions among older workers in Singapore. Asia Pacific J Manage 1997; 14: 185-210.
  • 19. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 6238.0. Retirement and retirement intentions, Australia, July 2014 to June 2015. Mar 2016. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6238.0 (accessed July 2016).
  • 20. Peisah C, Gautam M. Goldstein M. Medical masters: a pilot study of adaptive ageing in physicians. Australas J Ageing 2009; 28: 134-138.
  • 21. Wong J, Earl J. Towards an integrated model of individual, psychosocial, and organizational predictors of retirement adjustment. J Voc Behav 2009; 75: 1-13.
  • 22. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 6361.0. Employment arrangements, retirement and superannuation, Australia, April to July 2007 (re-issue). June 2009. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6361.0.55.004 (accessed July 2016).
  • 23. Waxman B. The aging psychiatrist: lessons from our colleagues in surgery and anaesthesia. Australas Psychiatry 2016; 24: 155-156.
  • 24. Joyce C, Schurer S, Scott A, et al. Australian doctors’ satisfaction with their work: results from the MABEL longitudinal survey of doctors. Med J Aust 2011; 194: 30-33. <MJA full text>

Author

remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Comment
Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Responses are now closed for this article.