University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 16.6.2017 Ikääntyvät ja työhyvinvointi. 45-64-vuotiaiden työssäjaksamiskokemuksia (Eriksson)

Start date: Jun 16, 2017 12:00 PM

End date: Jun 16, 2017 03:00 PM

Location: Seminaarinmäki, Old festival hall (S212)

Tuula Eriksson, kuvaaja Lasse Eriksson
Tuula Eriksson, kuvaaja Lasse Eriksson

Lic.A. (Psych.) Tuula Eriksson defends her doctoral dissertation in Education ”Ikääntyvät ja työhyvinvointi. 45-64-vuotiaiden työssäjaksamiskokemuksia”. Opponent Professor Emerita Marjatta Vanhalakka-Ruoho (University of Eastern Finland) and custos Lecturer Sauli Puukari (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in Finnish.


The aim of this study was to offer an additional point of view of the age political discourse on work endurance, initiated by Finland’s public administration in the early 2000s. The personal experiences of the staff of a multi-professional work community were exploited to find clues to occupational well-being and endurance at work. Seventeen employees aged 45—64 at the actual work community were chosen as data or material for study, i.e. to be interviewed. A phenomenological-hermeneutical approach was applied to shed light on how to create well-being at work. Personal experiences of work endurance were analyzed and interpreted along the guidelines of the stepwise method used in phenomenology. The analysis and interpretation of the data showed that the nature of work had changed and the consequences constituted a risk to occupational well-being. The interviewees felt that they had also changed; as seniors they had become unique and different from each other. Their experiences of work endurance were also different. Meaningful work was to almost everyone the most important factor that promoted work endurance and well-being. Meaningful work made people feel at home and commit themselves. It protected against too much haste and pressure at work, and it supported the balance between work and private life, important for endurance. The supportive measures and practices of the work community promoted work endurance, and the official measures were completed by people’s personal means of endurance as well as their personal qualities. What was experienced as meaningful was daily team work and mutual support from peers; both these factors promoted lifelong learning and one’s personal growth at work, and compensated for loss of social communication that had been reduced by too much haste. Analysis and explanation of negative experiences proved to be essential in promoting well-being at work. A stress
factor that had not been analyzed remained unsolved, consumed a person’s strength and undermined the balance he or she had attained. The years of midlife (40—60/65) included two successive transitions in development; on one hand, the period of individualizing growth with new resources and new plans, on the other hand, the period of giving up with feelings of loss at retirement. In both transition periods, allocated guidance and support would have been needed. In the former case, the resources, experience and new plans of the seniors should have been made use of. In the latter, support would have been needed to cope with feelings of loss and fear that were roused by leaving a work community and its human relationships, as well as anticipated loneliness of old age.

Key words: age, ageing, midlife, occupational well-being, changing work, work endurance, means of endurance, support and guidance

Further information:

Tuula Eriksson,, 0405592293
Communications Officer Anitta Kananen,, tel. +358 40 805 4142

 The dissertation is published in the series Jyväskylä Studies in Education, Psychology and Social Research numerona 585, 229 pp., Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä, 2017, ISSN: 0075-4625, 585 (nid.), ISBN: 978-951-39-7095-6 (nid.), 978-951-39-7096-3 (PDF). It is available at the Soppi University Shop and University of Jyväskylä Web Store, tel. +358 (0)40 805 3825, E-publication