The ever-changing meanings of retirement

Chris McVittie, Karen Goodall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Shultz and Wang (see record 2011-03464-001) drew attention to the ways in which understandings of retirement have changed over time, both in terms of the place of retirement in the lives of individuals and in terms of how retirement can no longer usefully be taken to comprise a single defining event. As the authors pointed out, psychological research has approached the study of retirement in a range of ways, including life span developmental perspectives, industrial/organizational approaches, and clinical and counseling studies. It is against this background that Shultz and Wang argued that psychology is well placed to make a unique contribution to research on retirement by taking forward three conceptualizations of retirement that can inform further work in this area, focusing on individual decision making, the longitudinal development process that ultimately leads to retirement, and the interactions between individuals and their environments by which individuals shape their experiences of retirement. Yet attempting to understand retirement in the terms that Shultz and Wang proposed will almost inevitably leave central elements of retirement unaddressed, for two reasons. Both of these factors pose challenges for any attempts to study retirement in the ways that Shultz and Wang proposed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-76
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

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