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Who will I be when I retire? An investigation of anticipation and experience of self-concept change in retirement

Jolles, Daniel (2020) Who will I be when I retire? An investigation of anticipation and experience of self-concept change in retirement. Masters thesis, University of Essex.

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Work can provide activities, social interactions and meaning that are important to the self. As retirement involves loss of these work-based activities and relationships, it brings the potential for negative impacts to how people see themselves; their self- concept, which is important to psychological wellbeing. Older adults who have higher commitment to their work prior to retirement might anticipate and experience less positive self-concept changes than their less committed colleagues. Additionally, the availability of other important social relationships might act as a buffer to negative changes, allowing individuals to maintain positive self-concept. We investigated the relationship between work commitment and self-concept change in US adults aged 49 to 75 pre-retirement in Study 1, and post-retirement in Study 2 (N = 506 and N = 215). Contrary to hypothesis, higher work commitment was not associated with negative self-concept changes in retirement. Exploratory analyses showed that self- concept changes post-retirement were less positive than anticipated pre-retirement, and that more social groups were positively related to self-concept changes. In Study 3 (N = 565), we surveyed workers aged between 49 and 70 to test if framing the transition to retirement as a role entry, rather than an exit from the workforce, moderated the relationship between work commitment and anticipated self-concept change in retirement. We found no support for this moderating relationship, however framing retirement as a role entry did lead to an increase in positive anticipation of self-concept change. Our findings suggest self-concept change in retirement is not as positive as anticipated and point to the importance of multiple social groups in retirement. We discuss the applied implications of these findings for individual retirement transitions and wellbeing.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Daniel Jolles
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2020 16:08
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 16:08

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