ERIC Number: ED304638
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
The Transition to Retirement: Accounts of Husbands and Wives.
Vinick, Barbara H.; Ekerdt, David J.
Retirement is recognized as a family experience, affecting retirees, their spouses, and their children. This study examined how the retirement transition affects the middle class, healthy, and financially secure male retiree and his wife. In-depth interviews were conducted with 92 couples from the Boston area in which the husband had been retired for 6 to 12 months. Responses from husbands and wives were classified as: (1) impingement; (2) the second look; (3) the spoiled retirement; and (4) retirement as resource. The response labeled "impingement" was almost entirely limited to the wives and refers to the overlap of husbands into the wife's sphere of activity. While most wives saw impingements as minor nuisances rather than as crises, both working and non-working women mentioned disruption of daily routines. Wives generally reported that they had adjusted unilaterally to the new situation. For husbands retirement afforded a "second look" at their wives' daily lives. Many were dismayed at their wives' humdrum routines and at the amount of time spent on housework. When illness made normal activities impossible or was life-threatening, the result was often a "spoiled retirement." Physical and emotional problems of other family members also sometimes resulted in spoiled retirement reponses. "Retirement as resource" refers to a global evaluation of retirement as a positive state, and was the modal response of the majority of respondents. Husbands' assessment of retirement focused on the personal level, while wives focused on the interpersonal realm. The findings suggest that most problems of adjustment were either minor and short-lived or attributable to conditions other than retirement itself. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society (41st, San Francisco, CA, November 18-22, 1988).