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Elderly and their Views towards Retirement

Desenvolvimento Psicológico na Adultez e no Envelhecimento

Retirement is typically viewed as an event which affects all individuals, generally
the same way. In some cultures retirement is often viewed as an end rather than
a beginning, it’s normally something people try and put off. During this period
the individual might notice a change regarding:

 “their self­identity, sense of importance and value as an individual, and as a member of society, 
relationships with family and friends, daily activities, financial stats, and living arrangements.”  ­ G 
Gail A. Hornstein & Seymour Wapner 

When faced with an individual who is about to enter retirement, previous
literature states that Social Roles (family, friends, social groups) have a big
impact on postretirement, these social roles are often an interaction between
family, friends and informal affiliations. This means friendship has an important
role in adjusting to retirement.

Some researchers state that retirement might be a form of withdrawal
from jobs they find unsatisfying, designating this as a the Work Role. To
understand this first one needs to consider the profession and the importance
the individual gives to their work.

Another important factor to reconsider are the Internal Resources
(psychological aspects), when speaking of this particular area many articles refer
to the “locus of control” which is described by the belief one has to shape life
and it’s outcomes. The “locus of control” can be divided into two: Internal
Locus: Individuals believe that they can control events in their life; External
Locus: A belief that life’s outcomes are mere luck and chance and they( the
individuals) have no control over them. There is also a need to consider Self-
Efficacy, may be the tool to help individuals adjust to postretirement this
psychological resource helps individuals predict their reactions towards
retirement. It is said that these internal psychological resources can define the
role retirement has on their life.

According to the literature available on this subject retirement can be
experienced in four different ways

Transition to old age- Individuals in this group see retirement as transition to
last stage of their life, “old age”. For retirees this new stage is not at time to
begin new activities/projects. They see this period as a way to settle down and
become less active, the level of enthusiasm that was once directed towards work
and relationships with others, tends to diminish and is replaced by their need to
rest, reflect and organize their life;

 “If you’ve never been a gardener, you’re not suddenly going to become one now.” ­ Citation by a 
participant in the “Modes of Experiencing and Adapting to Retirement” study 

New beginning- For individuals in this group work was draining and
unsatisfying. And so retirement is a phase where they can focus on themselves
and make choices according to their needs, desires and goals. A time which they
can take control over their own life, achieve long-held ambitions, that were not
be realized during their working years. Not only is there an increase in energy
but this transition conveys feelings of excitement. They now have time to fully
enjoy their surroundings;

 “There’s so much I want to do that I almost don’t know where to start;’“It’s a time when I can feel 
really free.” ­ Citation by a participant in the “Modes of Experiencing and Adapting to Retirement” 

continuation- Individuals in this group don’t consider retirement be a major
personal event, there seems to be a continuity between pre and postretirement.
Meaning that this groups sees retirements as a away to continue the activities
they cherish in a less pressured and more satisfying away. These activities might
be correlated with work (i.e.: in the same field as “preretirement”), for these
individuals working in retirement is an activity they chose to do, thus reflecting
their own desires and goals;

Imposed disruption-Individuals in this group think that retirement is loss of
activity, believing that there is “no real” substitute for the loss of work.
Retirement represents a period of somewhat confusion. The individuals in this
group dedicated a large amount of their life towards work. And when this has
been removed, they feel a part of themselves has also been removed despite
this they still attempt to find a alternative to their work;

Majority of individuals are inserted in a social group, and any event that may
affect a member has repercussions in the network. Taking this into account,
retirement not only impacts the retiree but their whole social group. Another way
that may facilitate the transition is to encourage a discussion between the retiree
and the members of their social network in order to discuss their expectation
regarding retirement.

In conclusion, contrary to many researchers and policymakers, there is no single
way of experiencing retirement but we can consider these to be the four “main”
modes of retirement phase.
Hornstein, G. A., & Wapner, S. (1985). Modes of experiencing and adapting to retirement.
The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 21(4), 291-315.

Hornstein, G. A., & Wapner, S. (1984). The experience of the retiree's social network during
the transition to retirement. Exploring the lived world readings in phenomenological
psychology, 119-136.

Howard, J. H., Marshall, J., Rechnitzer, P. A., Cunningham, D. A., & Donner, A. (1982).
Adapting to retirement. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 30(8), 488-500.

Bossé, R., Aldwin, C. M., Levenson, M. R., & Workman-Daniels, K. (1991). How stressful is
retirement? Findings from the Normative Aging Study. Journal of gerontology, 46(1), P9-P14.

Hopkins, C. D., Roster, C. A., & Wood, C. M. (2006). Making the transition to retirement:
appraisals, post-transition lifestyle, and changes in consumption patterns. Journal of
Consumer Marketing, 23(2), 87-99.

Howard, J. H., Rechnitzer, P. A., Cunningham, D. A., & Donner, A. P. (1986). Change in type
A behavior a year after retirement. The Gerontologist, 26(6), 643-649.

Friedmann, E. A., & Havighurst, R. J. (1954). meaning of work and retirement.

Howard, J. H., Marshall, J., Rechnitzer, P. A., Cunningham, D. A., & Donner, A. (1982).
Adapting to retirement. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 30(8), 488-500.

Carter, M. A. T., & Cook, K. (1995). Adaptation to retirement: Role changes and
psychological resources. The Career Development Quarterly, 44(1), 67-82.

Van Solinge, H., & Henkens, K. (2005). Couples' adjustment to retirement: A multi-actor
panel study. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social
Sciences, 60(1), S11-S20.

Floyd, F. J., Haynes, S. N., Doll, E. R., Winemiller, D., Lemsky, C., Burgy, T. M., ... &
Heilman, N. (1992). Assessing retirement satisfaction and perceptions of retirement
experiences. Psychology and aging, 7(4), 609.
Para o Power Point:
 “New start” and “Disruption” retirees are more likely to seek “active/ outward­oriented” 
products and activities as a means of substituting former work roles and re­orienting their 
circumstances in new directions. 

“Continuation” and “Old age” retirees are more likely to seek “passive/inward­oriented” 
products and activities that fulfill their desire to not start anything new and to complement 
their current focus on sustaining and fortifying non­work related needs and desires. 

Friedmann and Havighurs- suggested that giving up work creates a sense
of loss for the person. In response to this loss, the person has to develop a
substitution for hidher work in order to adapt satis- factorily. The crucial
notion in the activity theory is that one set of activities (work) will be
replaced by another set of activities, which will give the retiree the
satisfaction he/she formerly derived from work.