Saturday, June 7, 2014
Who Am I After I Retire ?
About Personal Identities After Retirement
This study addresses the question of how retired people’s self-image differs from that of working people and what factors predict peoples self-definition as professionals or retirees. Seven hundred ninety-two Swiss persons aged 58-70 (386 men, 406 women; 349 not retired, 443 retired) was asked to rate the importance of different self-description domains (such as profession, family roles, personal values, etc.). Results indicated that the profession domain remains important for self-description even after retirement, to the extent that retirement status does not predict the importance of professional identity at all. Rather, consistent with social identity theory, the importance of the profession for self-description is best predicted by the status of the (former or current) job. The importance of retirement status for self-definition is predicted best by a positive attitude toward aging. In general, retired respondents rated more domains of self- description as important than did the not-yet-retired respondents and no domain was less important after retirement. In other words, identity diversity was higher for the retired than for the not-yet retired persons. In addition, high identity diversity correlated with a high satisfaction across different life domains.