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    How do people find meaning after retirement from full-time work and what are the psychological factors that help?

    Taylor, Denise Karen (2022) How do people find meaning after retirement from full-time work and what are the psychological factors that help? PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Abstract

    This thesis is comprised of two papers: a systematic review to examine the individual psychological factors that impact a positive adjustment to retirement, and an empirical study to answer the question ‘How do people find meaning after retirement from full time work’. There is also a process review to reflect on the overall doctoral process. The first study was a systematic literature review (N = 17) to review the individual psychological factors that impact a positive adjustment to retirement. Findings indicated that there is promising evidence for the impact of personality on adjustment. Strong preferences for Extraversion, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness and low Neuroticism and a proactive personality were identified as stronger predictors of a positive adjustment to retirement. There is also promising evidence that mastery is a good predictor of retirement adjustment; generativity predicts hedonic and eudaimonic well-being and explains a meaningful part of the variation in individuals’ quality of subsequent retirement adjustment. Values such as autonomy, openness to change and harmonious passion all have greater impact on the adjustment to retirement, along with self-efficacy. Finally, there is promising evidence that self-esteem increases positive attitudes to retirement, and in one study, most retirees reported a perceived calling to a kind of work/activity. These results are interesting, but through the focus on quantitative measures there was a lack of richness to the data. Many times, psychological factors formed one small measure within a study (e.g., Lindwell et. al., 2017). The review concluded that more qualitative research would enable a greater understanding of the co-existence and dynamic nature of psychological factors and provide greater depth into the lived experience of people adjusting to life after full-time work. This led to the direction for the second study. This took a qualitative approach using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis to look deeper into the lived experience of seven individuals to answer the question -How do people find meaning after retirement from full time work? The analysis identified three super-ordinate themes: Search for knowledge, A change in ‘time’, and Who am I? Key themes were curiosity and being proactive and there is evidence that the seven people interviewed for this study had found meaning in later life. The in-depth interviews and clear interpretation of the meaning behind the words used has added a richness to this analysis and evidence that people have found a way that is meaningful for them. Whilst we cannot generalise from this type of study, it adds to the body of literature through a deep understanding into how these people have found meaning. Some of the participants clearly have a proactive personality, and there was evidence of self-determined motivation throughout the interviews, where the participants can have autonomy, a personality characteristic found via the SLR. All were curious and open to change, aspects of personality not uncovered in the SLR. An example of one of the smaller findings that slip through quantitative analysis. Suggestions for how the findings can feed into pre-retirement training are explored.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 09 May 2022 08:47
    Last Modified: 09 May 2022 17:41
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/48187

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