Supported by a feasibility grant in 2014 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to Jacquelyn James, co-director of the Center on Aging & Work, the Network was established in 2015 as an international, multidisciplinary research network focused on the changing circumstances of work in later life.   The original goals of the grant were to:

  • Provide a forum for sharing members’ cutting edge work from various disciplines, including psychology, sociology, economics, social work, human resource management, and other areas of study,
  • Develop a future interdisciplinary agenda for aging and work research,
  • Develop a set of papers for a special issue of a journal,
  • Plan a pre-conference for aging and work researchers at GSA next November,
  • Develop a specialized set of resources and tools for aging and work researchers.

During the last year over 140 scholars from 14 countries and 15 different disciplines have become members of the Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work.  The Network is joined by a stellar advisory committee.

Recent Activities:

Over the course of this year, membership of the Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work has grown from 89 members from 15 countries and 14 disciplines to over 200 members from 21 countries and over two dozen disciplines. We have added esteemed colleagues to the Steering Committee, Dr. Ruth Kanfer, professor of psychology at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Alicia Munnell, an economist and director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, and Dr. Julie Zissimopolous, also an economist, at the University of California, San Francisco. In addition to strengthening the membership and the Steering Committee, and making progress on the proposed goals, the growing visibility of the Network has led to many opportunities to leverage the depth and breadth of this coalition of scholars for multiple activities and events.

  • Published: A special issue of Work, Aging, & Retirement (M. Wang, Ed., published by Oxford University Press) entitledChange in the Meaning and Experience of Work in Later Life (2016) (J. James and M. Pitt-Catsouphes, Eds) was published in the summer of 2016.
  • Hosted/Sponsored or Co-sponsored Events:

o    Day-long event at GSA 11/17/16, invited by GSA leadership, Changing Attitudes/Expanding Possibilities for Later Life Employment

o    Is there an App for That?  Overcoming Constraints to Later Life Employment, a “Fall Institute” conducted in collaboration with the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health, 10/2016. Participants came from six countries and multiple disciplinary perspectives. New collaborations developed during the meeting.  All projects are ongoing and doing well. We are planning symposia using these papers at a national meeting next year.

o    The pre-conference workshop at IAGG, Translating Research on Aging & Work into Practice (program attached), cosponsored by NIA and GSA, was attended by over 60 people and was deemed a huge success. We are working now toward publication of the papers outside the usual academic circles. I have written to all presenters and early-career poster award winners to ask them to write a piece based on their remarks at the meeting in some venue that will be more accessible to employers–either a blog, or an AARP post, or an employer magazine post. Here I provide two examples of the responses that are coming in.  

  • One of the papers has already been published in Work, Aging & Retirement; it has also been posted on Twitter and re-tweeted by advocates and employers who follow the author.  A blog by this author is also in the works.
  • Another presenter promises a “how-to” blog focusing on best practices, e.g. a 10-step plan for starting your own competence-development measures in the area of aging and work with logical and easy to follow steps.

o    January, 2018 Conference: New & Emerging Trends in Aging & Work, a conference, cosponsored with Sara Czaja’s Center on Research and Education for Aging and Technology Enhancement  (CREATE),  and James Grosch at NIOSH.

  • Developed: A Letter of support for legislation in the U.S. mandating paid family Leave for Older Adult Caregivers.  The letter has been signed by over 100 academic scholars, many of whom are U.S. members of the Network. A released is planned for early November in conjunction with National Caregiving Month with the theme: Caregiving Around the Clock.  Publicity, press releases, and media contacts are being prepared in collaboration with the National Partnerships for Women and Families.


Current Activities

Pre-conference Workshop at the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), November 18, 2015, Change in the Meaning and Experience of Work in Later Life

Special issue of the journal, Work, Aging and Retirement (Mo Wang, editor)
“Change in the Meaning and Experience of Work in Later Life“, July 2016.

Curtis, J. & McMullin, J. (2016). Older workers and the diminishing return of employment: Changes in age-based income inequality in Canada, 1996-2011.
James, J. & Pitt-Catsouphes, M. (2016). Introduction to Change in the Meaning and Experience of Work in Later Life
Fisher, G. G., Ryan, L. H., Sonnega, A., Naud, M.N. (2016). Job lock, work, and psychological well-being in the United States
Moen, P., Kojola, E., Kelly, E.L., and Karakaya, Y. (2016). Men and womn expecting to work longer: Do changing work conditions matter?
Scheibe, S., Spieler, K. & Kuba, K. (2016). An older-age advantage? Emotion regulation and emotion experience after a day of work
Zacher, H., Hacker, W., & Frese, M. (2016). Action regulation across the adult life span (ARAL): A meta-theory of work and aging

Special session focused on different aspects of aging and work.  Over 25 abstracts and 4 symposia from among network members were submitted to the GSA program committee of the by the March 15 deadline. From the accepted papers and symposia, presentations for the special session have been selected for an exciting day of exchange among members on various topics.

The final program will be announced in late summer.

Special session schedule >

Pre-conference at GSA, 2017

Translating Research into Practice: Effective Strategies for Communicating Research Findings with Employers
In collaboration with Drs. Nancy Morrow-Howell and Linda Harootyan and with additional funds from NIA, we will host a pre-conference workshop at GSA, 2017 on the state of knowledge about workplace-based policies and practices that make it possible for older adults to extend their labor force attachment.  We will be joined in this effort by Network steering committee member Philip Taylor, director of the Productive Ageing Centre, Australia, and convener of the Older Worker Interest group who is working toward a better understanding of how to communicate research knowledge to business leaders. The 2017 conference will be combined with the IAGG 2017 (International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics and will be taking place July 23-27, 2017 (in San Francisco, California), rather than the traditional GSA November conference date.

New Publication Effort
Soon, in collaboration with Professor Lisa Berkman, Network member and Director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies at the Harvard University School of Public Health, we will host a special Network initiative to develop research based on the following theme: Is There an App for That? Removing Constraints of Later Life Work.

Current Newsletter
Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work Newsletter