First Advisor

Margaret B. Neal

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies




Retirees -- United States -- Social conditions, Retirees -- United States -- Attitudes, Retirees -- Family relationships -- United States, Married people -- Retirement -- United States, Retirement -- United States -- Analysis



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 173 p.) : illustrations


Our understanding of and interest in how retirement impacts the lives of individuals have grown over the past 20 years. Studies to date have ranged from small, convenience samples composed primarily of men to large, national longitudinal samples of men and women from different professional and socioeconomic backgrounds. There is consensus in the literature that older adults generally function better with a partner; however, gaps remain. We know little about the impact of retirement beyond the individual, although research in other areas on couples has produced evidence of crossover and contagion effects relative to depression and other outcomes, including absenteeism, job stress and positive spillover effects. A major objective of this research was to offer a more holistic perspective of the factors which contribute to retirement adjustment among using dyadic data. A cross-sectional research design was used. The final sample included 183 couples. Structural equation modeling identified predictors of retirement adjustment and well-being in couples. Husbands' and wives' retirement adjustment were found to be highly intercorrelated, but, differences in predictors were found between husbands and wives and their adjustment to retirement. Men were more adversely affected by a forced retirement, and wives had lower levels of well-being than husbands. A forced retirement was not a predictor of retirement adjustment for wives. The relationship between a wife's forced retirement and a husband's well-being was mediated by husband's retirement adjustment. Wives' and husbands' well-being was predicted by health problems. Other positive predictors of retirement adjustment and well-being for wives included maintenance of living standards, low levels of boredom and high levels of social support and leisure activity. These variables also predicted adjustment for husbands. In addition, three other predictors of husbands ' retirement adjustment were found, including: a fully retired work status, higher household income, and retirement plans that remained unaltered. These findings can inform the mental health and counseling practices of professionals serving older adults. It is hoped that this research serves as a basis from which future research may generate ideas and identify other instances of partner and actor effects in retirement adjustment and well-being in older couples.


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