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The aim of this study was to qualitatively explore the adjustment to retirement transition from the point of view of recently retired Slovak individuals. The special focus of the study was on factors which helped or blocked the process of this adjustment. The data obtained from semi-structured interviews were analyzed by Consensual Qualitative Research-Modified (Spangler et al. 2012). Forty seniors (M = 63.36; SD = 2.47) participated in the research. The analysis resulted in the creation of a categorization consisting of four domains: the process of transition from work to retirement; helpful factors during the transition; risk factors during the transition; and perceived positive and negative changes in retirement. The categories and representative statements were the foundation for the creation of three typical cases. The most common case is an individual who looks forward to retirement because the retiree is tired of the job. After retiring, the retiree experiences relief and satisfaction, perceives new possibilities, and experiences positive changes. The main helpful factors in adaption to retirement were identified as engaging in new activities, social relationships, good health, previous retirement planning, as well as protective attitudes, such as acceptance, gratitude, optimism and perception of the finality of life. Overall, the most frequently occurring risk factors in adaptation to retirement were bereavement, prolongation of the retirement age, lack of finances, and a partner’s illness. Positive and negative changes during retirement are discussed.
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In press, Current Psychology
Qualitative analysis of transition from work to retirement among Slovak retirees
Lucia Záhorcová1
Peter Halama1
Žaneta Škrobáková2
Amy Vatne Bintliff3
Simona Navarová4
1 Institute of Experimental Psychology, Centre of Social and Psychological Sciences, Slovak Academy of
Sciences, Dúbravská cesta 5819/9, 841 04 Karlova Ves, Bratislava, Slovakia
2 Institute of Applied Psychology, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Comenius University, Mlynské
luhy 4 , 821 05 Bratislava, Slovakia
3 University of Wisconsin-Madison, Educational Psychology-Human Development, 1025 Johnson Street,
Madison, Wisconsin 53701 USA
4 Department of Psychology, Trnava University in Trnava, Hornopotočná 23, 91701 Trnava, Slovakia
The corresponding author: Lucia Martinčeková, Email:, Tel: 00421 2 5477 5625
Conflict of Interest: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This study was supported by the grant agency VEGA under the contract No. 2/0048/18 „The psychological
aspects of the adaptation to retirement“.
The aim of this study was to qualitatively explore the adjustment to retirement transition from the point of view
of recently retired Slovak individuals. The special focus of the study was on factors which helped or blocked the
process of this adjustment. The data obtained from semi-structured interviews were analyzed by Consensual
Qualitative Research-Modified (Spangler et al. 2012). Forty seniors (M = 63.36; SD = 2.47) participated in the
research. The analysis resulted in the creation of a categorization consisting of four domains: the process of
transition from work to retirement; helpful factors during the transition; risk factors during the transition; and
perceived positive and negative changes in retirement. The categories and representative statements were the
foundation for the creation of three typical cases. The most common case is an individual who looks forward to
retirement because the retiree is tired of the job. After retiring, the retiree experiences relief and satisfaction,
perceives new possibilities, and experiences positive changes. The main helpful factors in adaption to retirement
were identified as engaging in new activities, social relationships, good health, previous retirement planning, as
well as protective attitudes, such as acceptance, gratitude, optimism and perception of the finality of life.
Overall, the most frequently occurring risk factors in adaptation to retirement were bereavement, prolongation of
the retirement age, lack of finances, and a partner’s illness. Positive and negative changes during retirement are
Keywords: retirement, qualitative analysis, seniors, transition
1. Introduction
Retirement from work is one of the major life transitions that may cause changes in many different areas of an
individual’s life, such as social network, everyday activities, or economic resources (van Solinge 2013). Hence,
the quality of adjustment to retirement has been the focus of interest for researchers, counselors, and the popular
media (Wang and Shultz 2010). Retirement transition and adjustment is perceived differently based on the major
theories in this field. On the one hand, some authors understand retirement as a role transition (Riley and Riley
Jr. 1994), during which the job role is weakened or completely lost, and roles associated with family and
community are strengthened (Barnes and Parry 2004; Heybroek et al. 2015). Individuals whose job role is
central in their life experience have a more difficult retirement transition than individuals with a very
challenging, unsatisfactory job, or those who have other more fulfilling roles (Osborne 2012; Wang et al. 2011).
On the other hand, the retirement process can be understood through the lens of the continuity theory, which
emphasizes that individuals successfully adapt to retirement if they have developed activities, relationships,
framework of thinking, and adaptive coping skills during the preceding life period and if they continue to use
them during retirement, thereby maintaining continuity (Atchley 1989; Pushkar et al. 2010). The life course
perspective theory claims that individuals’ transition and adaptation to retirement depends on whether they have
flexibly addressed previous life transitions and whether they have specific attributes, such as good health,
financial status, and transition capabilities (Griffin and Hesketh 2008; van Solinge and Henkens 2008; Wang and
Shultz 2010). One of the currently most accepted models for understanding adaptation to retirement is the
resource-based dynamic model for retirement adjustment. According to this model, adjustment to retirement is a
direct consequence of an individual's access to resources during the transition (Wang et al. 2011). These
resources may include physical resources, such as health or physical strength (Jex et al. 2007), cognitive
resources, including work memory (Wang and Chen 2006), financial resources, such as wage and retirement
benefits (Hobfoll 2002), social resources, including social networking and social support (Kim and Feldman
2000), emotional resources, such as emotional stability and mood (Wang et al. 2011) and motivational resources,
like self-efficacy. For people who have adequate resources to meet their retirement needs, transition to
retirement will be less challenging than for people who do not have enough resources (Topa and Valero 2017).
Despite the large number of quantitative studies on the process of retirement, the related factors and
changes, there are only a few studies exploring this transition process qualitatively, from the point of view of the
seniors themselves (Loureiro et al. 2016). The qualitative approach offers unique insights into the problem of
retirement adaptation because it can provide broader and more detailed perspective of retirement accounts,
instead of a narrow and too specific perspective based on pre-defined categories and constructs coming from the
quantitative approach. Moreover, to the best of our knowledge, there has been no qualitative study that addressed
the helping and blocking factors, which influence the process of transition positively or negatively. Information
on such factors is important for understanding the variability of the adaptation process among retirees, and it can
also contribute to the knowledge concerning the success of the adaptation process or the lack thereof. Also,
deeper knowledge of such factors can be a source for intervention focused on the facilitation of retirement
adaptation. For these reasons, our research focuses not only on the adaptation process in general, but specifically
on the helping and blocking factors. Another important characteristic of this study is that it is conducted with
Slovak retirees. Slovakia represents countries of Central and Eastern Europe, with a special cultural
environment, influenced by historical experience with transition from a communist regime to a standard
democracy. This transition has influenced all areas of life, including working and retirement. Studies of the
retirement process in these countries are underrepresented in scientific literature, as most of the studies are from
Western countries. Therefore, we argue that studying the retirement process from the perspective of participants
from Slovakia can contribute to the existing knowledge of this phenomenon.
1.1. The process of the transition from work to retirement
As described in the introduction section, there are different theoretical approaches to retirement.
Retirement transition can be viewed through the lens of the role theory (Riley and Riley Jr. 1994), continuity
theory (Atchley 1989), life course perspective theory (Wang and Shultz 2011) or the resource-based dynamic
model of retirement (Wang et al. 2011). It is important to know the specifics of retirement transition from the
perspective of retired individuals themselves, which can give us the opportunity to compare the experience of
retirees with the main theories in this area. Therefore, the first goal of our study was to understand how Slovak
retirees perceive their transition from work to retirement. Our first research question (Q-1) was the following:
How is the transition from work to retirement perceived by people who have recently retired?
1.2. Positive and negative factors influencing retirement
How an individual adapts from work to retirement depends on various variables. Current quantitative research
evidence recognizes five main categories of factors affecting well-being in retirement: individual attributes; pre-
retirement job-related factors; family-related factors; retirement transition-related factors; and post-retirement
activities (Wang and Hesketh, 2012). Within each category, there are variables with positive or negative impact
on the whole adaptation process. Among individual attributes, perceived good physical health in pre-retirement
but also after retirement, has been shown as an important factor of physical, psychological, and fiscal well-being
in retirement (e.g. Pinquart and Schindler 2007; Silver 2016; Zhan et al. 2009). On the other hand, health
problems have been shown as a negative predictor of retirees‘ adjustment (Shultz and Wang 2007; Wang 2007).
Also, a good financial status, financial goals, and literacy all contribute to adjustment in retirement (Hershey et
al. 2003; Pinquart and Schindler 2007).
Among pre-retirement job-related factors, experiencing stress at work, having a physically or mentally
challenging job, and being dissatisfied with one’s job contribute to experiencing relief and higher well-being
after retirement (van den Bogaard et al. 2016; van Solinge and Henkens 2008). If, on the contrary, individuals
had a satisfying job, where they had identified with their job role, the adaptation to retirement is usually more
difficult (Quick and Moen 1998). Equally important are factors related to retiree's family, such as being in a
quality marriage (Szinovacz and Davey 2004; Wang 2007). Conversely, losing one’s partner during the
retirement transition, (van Solinge and Henkens 2008) as well as having dependent children and grandchildren,
(Kim and Feldman 2000; Marshall et al. 2001) have been shown as factors contributing negatively to adjustment.
The adaptation tends to be easier if an individual was planning to retire (e.g. Hershey and Van Dalen 2007;
Steffens et al. 2016) and retired voluntarily, compared to individuals who were unprepared for retirement
(Reitzes and Mutran 2004; van Solinge and Henkens 2008). Several studies agree that engaging in various post-
retirement activities, whether those are free-time activities, voluntary work, or having a temporary job, is
important for the well-being of a retiree (Dorfman and Kolarik 2005; Griffin and Hesketh 2008; Silver 2016).
Given that the majority of studies on the factors influencing the retirement transition are of a quantitative nature,
it is important to understand the factors seniors themselves perceive as helpful or detrimental to the whole
adaptation process. Therefore, further research questions have been formulated:
Q-2: What are the factors perceived positively in the transition and adaptation to retirement?
Q-3: What are the factors perceived negatively in the transition and adaptation to retirement?
1.3. Perceived positive and negative changes after retirement
After retirement, there are a number of changes individuals have to deal with. They lose their job role and work
team which can be perceived as a relief or which can cause feelings of loneliness. However, retirement offers an
individual an opportunity to create a new role associated with family or community (Damman et al. 2015;
Osborne 2012; Wang et al. 2011). When seniors stop spending a lot of time working in a job, the time spent with
their partner or other family members is usually increased. This can bring positive changes, such as providing
more instrumental support to other family members (e.g. van den Bogaard et al., 2016) but also negative changes
in terms of having more conflicts with friends and family (Johnston 1990; Price and Joo 2005).
A retirement offers a space for an individual to develop new hobbies or deepen existing ones. Some
seniors may start participating in sports, traveling more, engaging in various clubs for seniors, or participating in
cultural activities (Sabbath et al. 2015; Scherger et al. 2011; Staats and Pierfelice 2003). There is also a change
in lifestyle with some seniors starting to be more physically active (Barnett et al. 2014; Lahti et al. 2011) while
others prefer a sedentary lifestyle (Berger et al. 2005; Chung et al. 2009).
Another visible change may happen concerning health status, which can improve during retirement
(Latif 2011) or, on the other hand, some health problems may arise (Dave et al. 2006; Sahlgren 2012). Given the
inconsistency of these findings, this article explores specific changes the recently retired seniors experience and
whether the changes are perceived positively or negatively. Thus, we inquire about the following:
Q-4: What positive changes do the individuals perceive after retirement?
Q-5: What negative changes do the individuals perceive after retirement?
2. Method
2.1 Participants
A total of 40 seniors (29 women and 11 men) participated in the study. Participants’ ages ranged from
57 to 69 years (M = 63.36; SD = 2.47) and the length of time in retirement ranged from six months to four years
(M = 2.8). A majority of the sample reported obtaining a high-school degree (n = 30, 75%), nine participants
(22.5%) completed graduate school (eight with master’s degree and one with doctoral degree) and only one
participant (2.5%) reported completing elementary school as their highest degree. There were no college
graduates in the sample because in the Slovakian context, it is typical to continue with the Master’s studies after
finishing a college. Regarding marital status, most of the participants (n = 27, 67.5%) reported being married,
followed by seven (17,5%) being widowed, four (10%) being single, and two (5%) being divorced. 21
participants reported living in a village and 19 participants reported living in a city.
2.2 Procedure
Potential participants were invited to participate in a study about the transition from work to retirement.
They were recruited through organizations and clubs for seniors and researchers’ personal and community
contacts. Participants were also invited to forward the announcement of the study to anyone they thought might
be interested and who met the criteria for participation. The criteria for participation in the study were as
follows: a) having the status of a retired person; b) retirement was limited to a minimum length of half a year and
a maximum length of four years; c) the senior could not have any part-time or full-time job at the time of the
study (only a temporary job was allowed).
Data were collected through individual, in-person, semi-structured interviews. The first and third
authors conducted the interviews. Both authors have previous experiences with qualitative research interviews.
Participants had the opportunity to choose the location of their interviews and most of them chose to meet at
their homes. Prior to face-to-face interviews, participants were informed about all research conditions in the
consent form. Participants provided their written consent to be interviewed and audio recorded.
Consistent with the methodology of consensual qualitative research (Hill 2012; Hill et al. 2005), a core
set of questions that supported our research aims was developed. Participants were asked the following
questions: How was the period of transition to retirement and after retirement for you? How did you manage to
cope with that? Has anything changed? Have you perceived any changes in your life after being retired? If so,
which changes do you perceive as positive? Which changes do you perceive as negative? What has been helpful
to you in your transition from work to retirement? What, on the contrary, has been an obstacle in your transition
from work to retirement? Sometimes participants spoke at length about their experiences so we did not have to
ask all the questions. At other times, participant answers were plain and short so we had to ask follow-up
questions. Interviews lasted approximately 67 minutes, including a final debriefing conversation. Prior to data
analysis, we deleted participants’ names and any other confidential information, and each participant was given
a code number. Then, the first and the third author transcribed the interviews.
2.3 Data analysis
For the purpose of data analysis, we used the consensual qualitative method (CQR), which uses
a bottom-up approach where the results, i.e. domains and categories, emerge from the data without imposing
theoretical constructs on the data (Hill 2012). CQR allows researchers to gain deeper understanding of inner
experiences and attitudes, which is usually not possible with quantitative methods. An essential component of
CQR is having a team of judges who independently code data and discuss each step of the analysis until
consensus is reached (Hill 2012).
To analyze the data, we used a modified version of Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR-M;
Spangler et al. 2012). We chose this approach because CQR-M is recommended for: a) larger sample sizes than
the typical use of 8-15 participants in CQR, and b) relatively simple data (Hill and Williams 2012), which was
our case since some answers of our participants were rather brief, given that they were seniors. The main
difference between CQR and CQR-M in the analysis is that in CQR-M the core ideas are not constructed and
data are simply coded into categories and subcategories.
The first step of the analysis was to create a list of domains. Domains are topics used to group data,
derived from the interview questions and literature (Hill et al. 2005). After reading the transcripts and taking our
research questions into account (Thompson et al. 2012), the first and the third author independently developed
list of domains. Then they discussed the list of domains with the second author until they reached a consensus.
In the second step, due to the number of participants (N = 40) and according to the recommendations of
Hill et al. (2005), we divided the interviews into four parts and started with the analysis of the first part of ten
interviews. Each member of the research team independently analyzed these interviews, coded data into
categories and subcategories. Then the team met together and discussed the preliminary categories with relevant
statements until reaching the consensus about what categories to include and how to label them. This process
was repeated three more times – after independently analyzing ten interviews the research team met, discussed
the statements coded into emerged categories, revised categories and eventually created new categories. Each
time team members discussed discrepancies until a consensus was reached. If a new category was developed,
team members always read through all the data to add relevant statements. In less than 2% of statements, we
double-coded the statements that seemed to fit into more than one domain.
Although it is not necessary to use an auditor in CQR-M, an auditor might be used to provide an
external review of the coding to minimize the effects of groupthink in the primary team (Spangler et al. 2012).
Therefore, in the third step of our analysis, an auditor (the fourth author) read through all the coding and
provided us with feedback. Then the primary team met again and discussed which auditor’s recommendations to
incorporate. When the consensus about the coding was made, the data analysis was completed. At the end, the
team met to find a particularly representative response for each category and subcategory. Some infrequent
categories (n = 1) are not reported in the results section.
3. Results
As part of the first research question, we created a domain called the process of transition from work to
retirement. This domain reflects the entire process of transition from employment to retirement, capturing the
period before retirement, the transition to retirement itself, and the period after being retired.
In the first domain, 11 categories were identified. 40% of participants talked about the positive
anticipation of retirement - they were looking forward to resting and relaxing in the new life period after
spending a long time at physically or mentally demanding jobs. Having challenging work, along with
experiencing an excessive sense of responsibility, having problematic relationships at the workplace, or on the
other hand, experiencing anticipated grieving for a work team, all contributed to negative feelings in the pre-
retirement period. The transition to retirement was also influenced by the way of retirement. Those who
experienced a forced retirement due to health difficulties or a dismissal from their job described negative
experiences. Those who were planning to retire, whether financially or by planning leisure activities, which
eventually helped them in their adjustment to retirement, described positive experiences.
80% of participants experienced positive feelings after being retired, mainly related to feelings of relief
and freedom to pursue activities at their own leisure. Participants said that they could finally rest with some of
them stating that they even planned to spend the first year of retirement only resting and doing nothing else.
Retirees also described being very satisfied with their current life situation and enjoying days during retirement.
25% of participants specifically mentioned being happy about the opportunity to finally sleep without any
limitations related to their previous job.
Negative feelings after being retired were reported by 40% of participants. These negative feelings were
mainly related to missing coworkers and a job they loved. Two participants experienced loneliness related to the
loss of a loved one they experienced or to being childless. Another two seniors reported feelings of restriction
because they had to take care of their ill husbands, which meant working even harder than when they were
65% of participants perceived retirement as an opportunity for new activities. For these participants, the
time they gained in retirement they devoted to themselves. For example, some became members of retirement
clubs and attended cultural events, which they could now afford. In addition to creating time and space for new
activities, 35% of participants gained an opportunity for deepening relationships and forming new relationships.
Specifically, three participants mentioned deepening relationships with their partner. For example, one
participant stated, “The relationship with my husband also got better, we can go on trips and walks now”. For 11
participants, deepening relationships meant spending time with broader family such as their grandchildren,
children, and siblings.
Within the category called process of adaptation, 18% of participants stressed that they had to get used
to a new life in retirement. An equal number of participants reported that they needed to change their lifestyle
and create a new daily routine to adjust better. While describing the process of transition to retirement, 20%
described their transition process as being smooth, without any problems. On the other hand, 23% of seniors
reported an experience of financial deterioration after being retired. 13% of participants acknowledged sleeping
problems during the transition period, describing times when they could not fall sleep or when they woke up at
the usual time as they used to when they were employed. All categories and representative items related to Q-1
are reported in Table 1.
Table 1. The process of transition from work to retirement
Representative item
The process of transition from work to retirement
of retirement
I was looking forward to retiring, I was excited and
I already needed it very much.
feelings in
Challenging work,
overload (10/25%)
I had a fairly hard job.
Fatigue from work
I felt tired, mentally tired.
Excessive sense of
responsibility (7/18%)
I had the type of work where I had to be responsible to
my supervisors, but also to other coworkers, so
I accepted this change very positively.
relationships at the
workplace (4/10%)
I had a really hard time at my job. I was bullied and
scrutinized, for opening my mouth more than I was
allowed to. So, I was looking forward to retiring…it was
that bad.
Health problems (3/8%)
I did not feel the best in terms of my physical health,
which was also reflected in my mental health.
Anticipated grieving for
a work team (2/5%)
I was afraid that I would miss my colleagues during the
retirement. That was the only thing I was afraid of.
Way of
Forced retirement
I got fired, went to the office of labor, they granted me
premature retirement, so I just had to retire.
Planning (7/18%)
It was good because I had been preparing for retirement
for about a year and a half.
Feeling of readiness for
retirement (2/5%)
I was mentally prepared for terminating my job.
feelings after
being retired
Relief, freedom
I took it as a wonderful gift from the heavens that I
could do whatever I want to.
Need for rest (14/35%)
I thought for one year I am just going to rest...
Joy, enjoyment,
satisfaction (12/30%)
I am really satisfied this way, I have a better and more
active life.
Sleep without limitation
Finally, I can sleep as much as I want to, I used to get
up at 3:30 am...
feelings after
being retired
Missing job and
colleagues (12/30%)
After I stopped working, when I went around the
kindergarten, my heart ached and I was very sad. I really
loved my job, I cannot say how much.
Loneliness (2/5%)
Sometimes I also feel lonely, when I am alone and
childless at home...
Boredom (2/5%)
At first, there was enough time for everything, which
was great, but then there was too much time.
Feeling of restriction
I cannot say that I am retired because I still work, work
and work, and I work even harder than when I had a job.
for new
I have more time for myself... I can devote myself to my
activities, tourism, or cultural events.
for deepening
and creating
Broader family
We have a grandson, that's our joy, I like to spend time
with him...
Partner (3/8%)
And the relationship with my husband also got better,
we can go on trips and walks now…
Process of
Getting used to (7/18%)
I have become more used to it, one has to change a lot
of things...
Change in a lifestyle,
creation of a daily
routine and pace
That was a time when I planned my daily regime
completely differently.
I was very disappointed with the amount of my pension.
It went smoothly and naturally.
It was such a change for me, I still cannot get a good
night’s sleep.
Note. Participant responses translated by team members from Slovak into English.
The second domain, helpful factors during the transition from work to retirement, summarizes factors
that have helped seniors to adjust better to retirement. We identified seven categories within this domain.
75% of participants reported that various activities helped them to adjust to retirement, many times
those were leisure activities such as sports, traveling, cultural activities, reading books, and solving crossword
puzzles. Other participants reported that work around the house and garden was relaxing and helpful in their
adjustment, and six participants had a temporary job which gave them purpose and opportunity to socialize. A
second dominant category of helpful factors was social relationships. Nearly half of the participants described
that caring for others, especially for children and grandchildren, as well as spending time with family and friends
gave them meaning and helped them to adjust more smoothly to a new life period. Six participants also
considered receiving social support, especially from family and a partner, as helpful.
There was also evidence of protective attitudes in successful adaptation to retirement. The most
common protective attitude was acceptance of a new life situation. 10% of participants described gratitude as a
key attitude in their adjustment including gratitude for being healthy to be able to enjoy retirement and spend
time with family. The same number of participants also described their optimism as a helpful factor. Other
participants accepted this new life period with humility and four participants realized the finality and fragility of
life, which helped them to have a new perspective.
18% of participants mentioned that one of the important factors of their successful adaptation to
retirement was having good health. The same number of participants were planning and preparing to retire,
mostly by planning activities. For example, one participant mentioned that he created a workroom with materials
and tools so that he would have something to do during retirement. Since it provided them with more
opportunities for spending free time, five participants mentioned living in the village as being helpful. Three
participants also explained that being financially secure is a protective factor because adaptation to retirement
would certainly be more difficult if they had more financial problems.
Table 2. Helpful factors during the transition from work to retirement
Representative item
Helpful factors during the transition from work to retirement
The activities which I do... I always go somewhere,
for some trips, which probably filled my time and it
also helped me...
I have a garden and caring about it helps me, that
way I forget about my job. I can still find something
to do at our house.
Fortunately, I have this temping job, four hours
per day for four months. I am so excited to have such
an activity.
Social relations
Because it is very important that you have someone
to care for.
I coped very well. Friends and children visit us very
My husband is such an optimist and that really
helped me, especially in times when I felt bad.
Well, I actually adapted to that life reality that it had
to come once.
I have a lot of free time and I am grateful for that.
Since I am such an optimistic person I always
discovered new and new things.
I have seen that some of my friends did not even get
to be retired or got sick, and it all helped me to see
another perspective...
We have the main things for living, that is the most
Health (7/18%)
I still have a fairly good health, and that is the most
important thing.
Preparation and
planning for
I was preparing for the retirement. I created
a workroom at home, I was preparing material and
tools to have something to do during retirement.
Living in a village
I live in the village, so there is always something to
do, work around the house or so.
Financial security
Certainly, it also depends on being financially secure.
If I had a minimum pension, it would certainly be
Note. Participant responses translated by team members from Slovak into English.
Participants also described risk factors in their adaptation to retirement. The most commonly described
risk factor (10%) was bereavement related to feelings of grief and isolation due to loss of a partner, sibling, or
a friend. Also, prolongation of the retirement age made the transition more difficult, with some participants
planning to and looking forward to retire earlier, and therefore feeling disappointed and sad for needing to wait
more years to retire. Regarding work life, there were other risk factors, such as a dismissal from job, missing
coworkers and lack of finances after being retired. Eight percent of participants described that they had to take
care of their seriously ill partner devoting all of their time and energy into this care, which caused many negative
changes in their life and made the adaptation more difficult.
Table 3. Risk factors during the transition from work to retirement
Representative item
Risk factors during the transition from work
to retirement
It was really bad for me because my husband died right before my
retirement. So, it was bad, really bad.
Prolongation of the
retirement age
And it was very hard for me that the retirement age got prolonged,
because at first I thought I would retire in 55...
Lack of finances
It was just difficult because we did not have enough money.
Partner’s illness
I switched from working at my job to taking care of my ill husband. So,
these 8 hours I wasn’t somewhere at the job but I had to fully take care of
my husband which was a work, too.
Dismissal from job
I got fired and so I went to the office of labor…
Missing coworkers
I miss my colleagues, I felt a bit cut from the society, from the team,
which was good at my job. I had to deal with this.
Poor health (2/5%)
Because I had some health problems...
Note. Participant responses translated by team members from Slovak into English.
Domain perceived positive changes in retirement is composed of five categories. The most frequent
category, described by 78% of participants, is time and space gained. With transition to retirement, participants
gained time for new activities, such as going into theatres and reading. Fourteen participants invested their time
into their family and relationships. They spent time and took care for their partner, children or grandchildren. For
65% of participants, retirement was associated with stress relief as they valued the freedom to decide for
themselves and to do whatever they wanted to do, not what they had to do in their jobs. 8% of participants
appreciated that they could choose which friends they would spend time with in retirement, instead of having to
spend time with their colleagues while they were employed. Two participants also appreciated having financial
security without the need to work.
Domain perceived negative changes in retirement includes nine categories. The most frequent category
described by 55% of participants was problems with health and physical fitness. 33% of seniors also perceived
lack of finances even after working for many years. Another frequent negative change was feelings of loneliness
and lack of social contacts, compared to times when one had a job. Surprisingly, one quarter of participants
reported no negative changes after being retired and some of them felt even more satisfied compared to when
they were employed. At the beginning of the retirement, 20% of seniors felt satisfied with how much time they
gained but after a while they realized there was too much free time and they felt bored and lacked some life
framework. Some participants reported that they missed their job which was meaningful to them and which they
liked. Four participants described that spending every day with their partner led to having more conflicts with
them. The same number of participants described some limitations associated with retirement status, especially
related to having more difficulty accessing goods and services than when they commuted to work on a daily
Table 4. Perceived positive and negative changes in retirement
Representative item
Perceived positive changes in retirement
Time and space
gained (31/78%)
New activities
...more time for reading, going into theatres…I take more
cultural and recreational trips.
family (14/35%)
I can enjoy my family which I could not do for years when
I had been working...
Time in general
I have more free time.
I took it as a wonderful gift from the heavens that I can do
whatever I want... So, freedom is great.
Stress relief
I do not have to feel stressed.
Positive change
of attitude in
Having a choice
of social
Now I can choose with whom I am going to meet or spend
time with.
security without
the need to work
I get money every month, whether it is summer or winter, I
do not have to worry whether I get a salary or whether they
fire me. I get stable money every month.
Perceived negative changes in retirement
Problems with
health and
physical fitness
The only problems I have had are the ones related to my
Lack of finances
Money, one cannot buy anything one wants, the pension is
Loneliness, lack
of social
I just miss people, I really enjoyed having fun with them,
talking to them...
No negatives
I feel satisfied. I do not perceive anything negative about my
retirement so far.
Lack of life
After a while one realizes there is too much free time...
Missing job
I have been missing my job because I liked it.
More conflicts
with a partner
I would say our marriage, we cannot get used to each other,
we even get on each other’s nerves.
related to
status (4/10%)
When I had a job, it was easier to buy anything on my way
from work, I had easier access to things...
Experiencing a
negative attitude
towards seniors
It hurt the way people looked at me being a senior.
Note. Participant responses translated by team members from Slovak into English.
Based on the data analysis, we have identified three typical cases describing the ways our participants
went through this specific transition period. The first typical case is an individual who expects to retire and looks
forward to it because the retiree is tired of the job or the work was mentally or physically challenging for an
elderly man or a woman. When work involved a great deal of responsibilities, not only for the retiree, but also
for subordinates, individuals reported experiencing stress at work. After retiring, some retirees experience relief
and satisfaction because it leads to relaxation. At this stage, the retiree perceives new possibilities for spending
free time, especially with family. These individuals are delighted to be able to engage in activities they have
neglected to date or they start to engage in new activities. These individuals also experience positive changes and
often state that there are no negatives related to retirement. Engaging in new activities, nurturing social
relationships, employing protective attitudes, working around the house or having a temporary job, and previous
retirement planning, all aid retirees in their adaptation to retirement.
The second case is an individual who leaves an enjoyable job. This job was meaningful to the
participant and they had good relationships with colleagues. In this case, the adjustment becomes more
problematic. The retiree misses either the job itself or the team. By leaving work, an individual may experience
loneliness and lack of social contacts, especially if they lack sufficient social background and support in existing
family relationships. The activities that the retiree is involved in during retirement cannot replace what was done
at work. Also, disappointment arises if the amount of pension does not correspond to retiree expectations. In
addition, a retiree may encounter negatives such as problems with health and physical condition, as well as lack
of life framework and boredom resulting from having too much free time.
The last case is an individual, who while still working, was already planning for and looking forward to
retirement. Unfortunately, due to an unexpected, negative event, the transition did not occur smoothly and in line
with the retiree’s expectations. In some cases, an individual loses a person close to them, often a partner. The
grief experienced can be multiplied by the loneliness related to retirement. Other cases are related to a serious
illness of a partner, when an individual shifts from years spent working to a period of demanding care for
another person. Also, a dismissal from work or delay in the retirement age can be factors resulting in negative
changes after retirement.
4. Discussion
The process of transition from work to retirement
In the pre-retirement period, an employee might have positive expectations for retirement due to dissatisfaction
with the current job. Participants looked forward to retiring, especially when they had a challenging job, either
physically (fatigue from work) or mentally (excessive sense of responsibility or problematic relationships at the
workplace). This is in line with previous studies (Dal Bianco, Trevisan, & Weber, 2015; Siegrist et al. 2007)
showing that poor quality of work is associated with the desire to retire as soon as possible. Also, it seems that
Czechs, who have a mentality similar to Slovaks, indicate a preference for early retirement regardless of the
expected lower pension compared to their previous income, and regardless of the factors such as gender, age or
the level of education (Vidovićová, Manea, & Rabušic, 2008). On the other hand, when participants experienced
an involuntary retirement, due to dismissal from work or health problems, their transition to retirement was more
difficult. Similarly, Heybroek et al. (2015) and Gallo et al. (2006) found that involuntary loss of employment is
associated with worse coping with the retirement transition and more depressive symptoms. Results of this study
support these findings, as our participants reported risk factors in their transition to retirement such as
unemployment and health issues.
Some employees prepared and planned for retirement. In one case, the planning was financial (Hershey & Van
Dalen, 2007), but mostly it was psychological and social regarding leisure time or looking for information on
how to cope better with retirement. Individuals who had been preparing for retirement did not describe any
difficulties in transition to retirement, which is consistent with the findings of previous studies (Adams and Rau
2011; Muratore and Earl 2015; Reitzes and Mutran 2004). The positive effect of planning can also be explained
by the resource-based dynamic model (Wang et al. 2011), when retirees who are more involved in retirement
planning acquire greater resources, which consequently contribute to a better adaptation and higher well-being
during retirement (Yeung and Zhou 2017). However, our results suggest that only a minority of our respondents
were involved in financial preparation for retirement before transition. This is a very low rate in comparison with
Western countries (e.g. Alessie, Van Rooij, & Lusard 2011) and one of the most important differences between
the Slovak and Western inhabitants. We think the nature of the pension system can play a role in this difference,
as pension systems in most post-socialistic countries are organized as pay-as-you-go system with an important
role of the government which decides on the pension rate (Vidovićova, 2014). Although this system is not
sustainable due to demographic changes and it is being reformed, most of the people still have paternalistic
concept of government, which should take care of retirees. Due to this situation, the Slovaks can feel less
responsible for the financial situation during the retirement compared to people from the Western countries.
Although some of our participants experienced negative feelings in the pre-retirement period due to
problems related to work and health, for the majority of participants the period after being retired was positive.
Most of our participants have experienced the need for rest and a sense of relief from excessive responsibility
and duties, or conflicts at work which is supported by other studies (Latif 2011; Osborne 2012). The newly
created leisure time was spent doing housework, engaging in new activities, and trying to recover mental and
physical resources. Participants also felt joy and began to enjoy life more fully after being retired. The positive
emotions after retirement could be explained by the honeymoon period, based on the stage theory of retirement
(Atchley 1989), which is typically followed by a period of frustration, when an individual begins to understand
that retirement does not bring only advantages. Although this theory did not receive much empirical support (van
Solinge 2013), it could be applied to some of our participants who reported enjoying retirement during the early
stages, but later experienced lack of life framework and boredom when the initial euphoria had disappeared.
Therefore, they actively engaged in creating new lifestyle with a new daily routine.
Helpful and risk factors during the transition from work to retirement
The second sub-goal was to examine the variables that affect the transition to retirement and subsequent
adaptation positively and negatively.
Engaging in various activities was found as the most helpful factor during transition to retirement.
Among helpful activities, retirees mentioned leisure activities, such as reading books, as well as work around the
house and in the garden, and having a temporary job. Previous studies similarly indicate the importance of
leisure activities (Silver 2016; Wang and Shultz 2010) and bridge employment (Wang 2007; Zhan et al. 2009)
for well-being of a retiree. One leisure activity specifically mentioned by our participants who lived in a village
was work around the house or garden. This was a way for our participants to stay active and to not ruminate
about their previous work or other-related problems. They described this work as physically challenging and
mentally relaxing at the same time. We are not aware of many studies which would mention gardening as a
specific leisure activity for retirees and thus, we believe, gardening might be an activity more specific for the
Slovakian retirees than for retirees from the Western countries. Overall, having these post-retirement activities is
in line with the continuity theory (Atchley 1989) which asserts that being active during retirement serves to
preserve continuity, thus making the transition easier (Feldman and Beehr 2011).
Social relations is an important helpful factor in adaptation to retirement. Many participants found
caring for others, and especially for grandchildren, as helpful in their adaptation. However, this result is
inconsistent with previous studies from the Western countries (Kim and Feldman 2000; Marshall et al. 2001;
Szinovacz and Davey 2004), showing that obligations and financial costs associated with care for grandchildren
are related to worse well-being. Results from this study indicate that caring for grandchildren may be an
important source of meaningfulness and generativity during retirement in Slovakian participants, but it probably
depends on the amount and voluntariness of care. Moreover, social support, especially from a partner, and
maintaining social relationships were found to be helpful in the adaptation of a retiree, which may be explained
by the fact that social support reduces loneliness of retirees (Chen aand Feeley 2014).
As with any other stressful situation, choosing an attitude can be helpful in the transition to retirement.
(Frankl 2006). Our participants coped better with this transition if they could accept the new situation and stay
humble. Also, if they realized that they had many things to be grateful for because many people do not reach
retirement age, or are sick or abandoned at this stage of life, they coped well. In fact, gratitude has been shown to
be an adaptation mechanism that promotes well-being (e.g. Emmons and McCullough 2003; Chopik et al. 2017)
and can reduce the negative effects of stress on health in late life (Krause 2006). Therefore, seniors can benefit
from focusing on what they have instead of complaining about what they lack. Feelings of optimism that
accompany people throughout their lives helps seniors in adaptation to retirement as well. The positive effect of
optimism on retirement adaptation can be explained by the resource-based dynamic perspective. Optimism can
help an individual to assess the needed resources during the transition to retirement, therefore, the adjustment
quality can be increased (Topa and Pra 2017; Topa and Valero 2017). Participants also described perceiving the
finality of life and being aware that death can come at any time as helpful reminders to spend their time during
retirement more meaningfully. This is consistent with theories of Frankl (2006) and Yalom (2008), who argue
that death awareness adds to our responsibility to make the most of the time we have got. Overall, there is not
sufficient research about positive psychological traits and attitudes and their effect on well-being in retirees. We
are aware of only one published study reporting that a combination of positive psychological factors (self-
efficacy, grit, hope, optimism) was a significant predictor of depression in retirees (Allenden et al. 2016). It is,
however, difficult to say whether these results are specific for Slovakia compared to Western cultures and more
research is needed to confirm these findings. Therefore, future studies may be aimed at measuring positive
psychological traits and attitudes, such as gratitude and optimism, and their relation to coping with retirement
and unexpected negative events which may occur during transition.
Having good health and being financially secure have been described as helpful factors in transition to
retirement by our participants, which lends support to previous findings in literature (Pinquart and Schindler
2007; Reitzes and Mutran 2004; Silver 2016). Financial security in retirement can be a result of receiving a
monthly pension, but can also be a result of financial planning (e.g. Hershey and Van Dalen 2007). A surprising
finding is that financial planning was reported by only one of our participants. This rather low financial planning
seems to be specific for Slovakian participants compared to those from Western cultures and may be related to
the lack of educational and intervention programs promoting financial preparedness in the Slovakian context. In
fact, Bačová and Kostovičová (2018) found in a sample of young employed Slovakian adults that their attitudes
towards financial preparation for retirement and towards retirement savings were predicted by financial self-
confidence and knowledge of the pension system. Therefore, educational and intervention programs should be
aimed at increasing financial preparation for retirement in Slovakia, which can eventually lead to higher
financial security in retirement. Interventions can also be aimed at planning how individuals can stay physically
or socially active (Steffens et al., 2016), which was described as an important helpful factor by our participants.
Sometimes the transition from work to retirement does not occur smoothly and can be complicated by
various factors and unexpected situations. Bereavement, especially the death of a spouse is one of these
situations. According to the scale of stressful life events (Holmes and Rahe 1967), the death of a spouse is
regarded as the most stressful experience, which has also been previously shown as a stressful factor in retirees’
adjustment (e.g. van Solinge and Henkens 2008). Our participants described how they looked forward to retiring
and spending time with their partner, but then they had to adjust to a completely new life situation. This was also
the case when seniors had to take care for an ill partner, which not only takes up all their time and energy, but
also limits them in their daily activities and life plans. In fact, spousal caregiving has been associated with
negative psychological outcomes in other studies as well (Capistrant et al. 2014). The negative effect of
bereavement or caregiving on adaptation to retirement can be explained by the life course perspective theory
(van Solinge and Henkens 2005), which says that transition to retirement is influenced by the context in which
the transition is made. Since these negative events cannot be predicted or controlled, we believe that an
individual may cope better with them by taking a protective attitude, such as acceptance or gratitude.
Another risk factor which was mentioned by our participants, and especially by women, is prolongation
of the retirement age. This risk factor seems to be specific for the Slovakian context compared to that of Western
cultures. Current average retirement age in Slovakia is 62 years which is comparable to the average retirement
age in the United States. What, however, may be a challenging aspect for Slovakian retirees is their planning to
retire earlier, which was changed by the pension reform implemented in 2004. Until 2004, retirement age for
Slovakian women was 52-57 years depending on the number of children a woman had. This retirement age is
being gradually increasing to 62 years. Many of the women in our sample planned to retire earlier and this
unexpected change in the social politics may have been perceived very negatively, especially in the light of
having a physically challenging job.
A few individuals experienced unemployment before retirement. The negative effect of unemployment
on adaptation can be explained by the fact that retirement due to unemployment is regarded as unexpected and
involuntary, which, according to previous studies (Dorn and Sousa-Poza 2010; Heybroek et al. 2015), has a
negative impact on the process of adaptation, regardless of the culture. Unemployment can also be associated
with lack of finances, which in itself is also perceived as a risk factor in adaptation. Having particularly good
relationships at work may cause retirees to miss their coworkers, which also complicates the whole process.
Disrupting these contacts after retiring or not creating a sufficient social network outside of work are factors in
the well-being of a retiree as well (Damman et al. 2015; Segel-Karpas et al. 2018).
In general, there were fewer risk factors reported during the transition from work to retirement compared to the
number of protective factors. Also, most of the reported negative factors are the ones that an individual cannot
control. Therefore, it may be suggested for a senior to focus more on protective attitudes, which can mitigate the
effects of negative situations.
Perceived positive and negative changes in retirement
The most frequently mentioned positive change in retirement was time and space gained, which was mainly used
for participating in new activities, such as sports, reading, or cultural events, as well as traveling more, which
was also commonly reported in previous studies (Sabbath et al. 2015; Scherger et al. 2011; Staats and Pierfelice
2003). Traveling more during retirement may be the outcome of having fewer family and work responsibilities
(Nimrod 2008), but it may also be connected to having free train tickets, which is an opportunity available for
seniors in our country. Overall, we assume that a positive evaluation of this change - time and space gained -
may stem from the fact that leisure activities contribute to overall life satisfaction and promote social
engagement of seniors (Huxhold et al. 2014; Wetzel and Huxhold 2016).
Over one third of our participants used newly gained time to spend it with their family and to build
relationships. One can build new relationships outside of the family by participating in various organizations
(Van Den Bogaards et al. 2014), which was the case of our participants, who, for example, attended the
university of the “third age” which is an educational program organized by local universities for seniors. As far
as the family is concerned, it is not just about helping children with their grandchildren (Hayslip and Kaminski,
2005; Kaptijn et al. 2010), but also about quality time spent doing various activities, whether with their
grandchildren (Burn et al. 2016), children or with a partner.
Many of our participants described freedom and stress relief related to retirement as an important
positive change. Participants enjoyed the freedom of having the opportunity to make their own decisions and do
whatever they wanted without the need to adjust to job requirements, which added to the reduction of stress as
well. Reducing stress experienced by employees can also lead to the improvement in seniors’ health status
(Eibich 2015).
When asked about possible negative changes, one fourth of the participants reported no negative
changes perceived during retirement. This can be explained by the resource-based dynamic model (Wang et al.
2011). We may assume that if a senior has sufficient resources and their needs are met, they will be well adjusted
to retirement (Topa and Valero, 2017); however, the most frequently described negative change in our
participants is problems with health and physical fitness, which has been reported in some previous studies (e.g.
Dave et al. 2006; Sahlgren 2012). There are different reasons for these problems. One of the objective reasons
mentioned by our participants is increased age. Another reason can be preferring a sedentary lifestyle and a lack
of physical activity (Owen et al. 2010; Rezende et al. 2014). It may, therefore, be recommended that while still
employed, individuals should undertake activities beneficial to their health, which may help them maintain their
health status even after retirement (Jex et al. 2007).
Loneliness and lack of social contacts was another negative factor related to transition to retirement.
One of the reasons may be the loss of work environment which usually offers opportunities for social interaction
and social engagement to employees (Segel-Karpas et al. 2018). Some retirees mentioned that when they first
retired, they tended to meet frequently with their ex-coworkers, but after some time they met less and less often.
Other individuals experienced loneliness as a result of the loss of their spouse. This finding is supported by other
studies, which show that loneliness is a prevalent problem in widowed seniors (Routasalo and Pitkala 2003;
Thomopoulou et al. 2010). Thus, contact with adult children along with caring for grandchildren, mentioned by
our participants, can be a buffer against loneliness.
Retirement can also be associated with having more conflicts with a partner, which can be explained by
spending more free time with a partner (Johnston 1990; Price and Joo 2005). On the other hand, retirees stated
that they are glad they have a conflict with their partner from time to time because that is a much better
alternative to being alone.
Overall, when trying to compare our results with those of Western cultures, we are not aware of any
specific differences in the perceived positive and negative changes between Slovakian participants and those
from the Western countries, which may indicate that these changes experienced due to retirement may not be
culturally specific.
It is important to interpret the results of our study with respect to several limitations. The first limitation relates
to the use of qualitative methodology, which does not allow us to generalize our results or even to assume the
causal interpretations of the results. The second limitation concerns participants recalling their experiences
retrospectively, and therefore their memories may not be completely accurate. The third limitation is related to
the characteristics of our participants. Specifically, participants’ length of time in retirement ranged from half a
year to four years, and therefore their experiences may have been different. Also, the majority of our sample’s
education ended with a high-school degree. Our results may have been different if we used participants with
university degrees. Therefore, future studies might consider using a sample of seniors with university degrees,
whose adaptation to retirement might be different. Despite these limitations, we believe that through qualitative
research we have been able to take a deeper and more complex view of the experiences of seniors with
retirement transition, and especially with respect to their perceived positive and negative factors during their
transition from work to retirement.
5. Conclusions
Our study points to the importance of creating a new lifestyle with a new daily routine in order to avoid or
mitigate the lack of life framework of a retiree. Seniors might benefit from retirement planning, especially in
terms of planning their free time in retirement. Maintaining an active lifestyle, such as engaging in various free
time activities, work around the house or having a temporary job, may serve to preserve the continuity of a
retiree (Atchley, 1989) and thus the transition to retirement may be easier (Feldman and Beehr 2011). Moreover,
since the most commonly described negative change by our participants was problems with health and physical
fitness, it may be recommended that while still employed, individuals might benefit from engaging in behavior
beneficial to their health, which may be helpful for maintaining their health status even after retirement (Jex et
al. 2007). Interventions may be aimed at increasing health-promoting behavior, as well as at increasing
psychological and social planning for retirement. Educational and intervention programs regarding financial
planning may be especially important for retirees in Slovakia since financial planning was unrepresented in our
Our results seem to be mostly in line with the resource-based dynamic model of retirement (Wang et al.
2011), suggesting that individuals who have greater resources in their transition to retirement, adjust better to
retirement. The experience of our participants emphasizes the importance of having social resources in the
following ways: social networking and caring for children and grandchildren; having motivational resources in
terms or self-efficacy to lead an active lifestyle and protective attitudes to cope with negative situations; physical
resources in terms of good health and physical fitness; and adequate financial resources.
The transition to retirement may be complicated by unexpected negative situations, which cannot be
predicted or controlled, such as losing a loved one or an illness of a partner. In such situations, it is
recommended for an individual to focus more on taking a protective attitude, such as accepting the current
situation with humility and gratitude. We hope that our findings can be an asset to the understanding of the
transition to retirement, with respect to helpful and risk factors during this transition.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Statement of human rights
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards
of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later
amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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... Retirement belongs to the most important life transitions that can affect personal resources and wellbeing (Gall et al., 1997;Osborne, 2012). During the adjustment process, people try to adapt to their retirement-related life changes by rebuilding their life in different areas-financially, socially, emotionally, or motivationally (Martinčeková & Škrobáková, 2019;Wang et al., 2011;Záhorcová et al., 2021). Although dynamic changes in Western society associated with increasing life expectancy and a decreasing birth rate have changed society's view of retirement and enabled a more flexible and continual disengagement from work, a diminishing psychological commitment to work and behavioural withdrawal from work are still key components of the retirement process (Shulzt & Wang, 2011). ...
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Purpose: This study is a qualitative inquiry into meaning making during retirement transition. The study focuses on how Slovak retirees reconstruct meanings during the transition and the factors which both help and hinder this process. Methods: Forty individuals (M = 63.36; SD = 2.47) who had recently transitioned into retirement were interviewed and data were analysed using the Consensual Qualitative Research-Modified approach. Results: The analysis generated five basic domains with categories and subcategories of the participants’ responses. The analysis showed that once retired, the participants generally continued to rely on previous meaning sources such as work and family; however, there were changes such as switching from job-related work to work related to hobbies and housekeeping, or from financially providing for the family to maintaining family relationships and grandparenting. The main factors facilitating the meaning making process were positive attitudes and social support for meaning. The risk factors included lack of finances, poor health of retiree or a close person, and the loss of a spouse. Conclusions: In general, the research showed that the main features of the retirees’ meaning making processes were maintaining accessible sources, compensating for sources lost during the transition, and managing beneficial and risk factors.
... Všeobecne sa však často zabúda na individuálne prežívanie starnutia a jeho súvislosť s existenciou či absenciou sociálnych sietí. Postupná zmena zapojenia sa do ekonomickej činnosti, strata niektorých sociálnych rolí, vzťahov a sietí, ale aj fyzických síl predstavujú v živote každého človeka významné prechody, ktoré výrazne modifikujú kvalitu života jednotlivcov (Ekerdt 1986;Katz 2000;Voľanská 2016Voľanská , 2018Záhorcová et al. 2021). A tak, ak aj odhliadneme od v súčasnosti kritizovaného imperatívu aktívneho starnutia (Hasmanová -Marhánková 2011;Katz 2000;Lamb 2017;Stückler 2017;Dyk -Lessenich 2009), "kvalitné starnutie je založené na permanentnom prelínaní vzdelania, práce a záujmových aktivít" (Muffels 1998). ...
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The quality of social networks influences the quality of life in old age because the absence of them leads to social exclusion and loneliness, which are, according to the literature, the most serious concerns perceived by seniors. We focused on the social networks of seniors and loneliness in the urban environment. We were interested in how seniors reflect their social networks. Do they place emphasis on family or community networks? The paper was based on a mixed-method with a questionnaire on a sample of 1,026 seniors living in cities in Slovakia in combination with in-depth interviews. In connection to the assumption of the influence of long-term patterns of family structures on intergenerational relationship and relationships with friends, it was found that there is a preference for family networks. Friendship networks are long-lasting, transforming and, unlike kinship networks, do not extend geographically beyond city boundaries.
One of the most serious challenges inherent in retirement transition is coping with social identity changes. We investigated social identity processes and the role of social engagement during retirement transition by examining the life narratives of recently retired university faculty (14 males and 5 females) from twelve different academic areas. The interviews were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The results revealed one overarching theme—the centrality and importance of academic identity—and three identity transition processes with their associated goals: identity continuity, identity change, and identity conservation. Four additional themes captured the manifestations of these identity processes as they play out in the lived experiences of identity transition among these recent academic retirees: awareness of negative aspects in academia and perceived lack of fit between self and academia; social disidentification with academic identity; identity discovery and seeking old and new identities; and embracing old and new identities, including hobby-related and place-anchored activities. Maintaining and transforming parts of their former identities, as opposed to an active search for new connections, was a prevalent strategy among the participants. We discuss implications for designing strategies to better prepare recent academic retirees and academics who are considering retirement to enable a smoother identity transition and improved well-being.
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The article aims to provide a review of the currently most accepted models explaining transition and adjustment to retirement, which include role theory, continuity theory, life course perspective, and the resource-based dynamic model for retirement adjustment. One of the main theories explaining adaptation to retirement is role theory. This theory assumes that during the transition from one life period to another, an individual exits one role and enters a different role (George, 1993). Based on this theory, retirement can be characterized as a role transition (Riley & Riley, 1994), when a job role is weakened or even lost, and roles associated with family and community are strengthened (Barnes-Farrell, 2003). In cases when an individual’s job role is central to their identity and they are overly-engaged in their job, transition to retirement is more difficult compared to an individual who perceived their job role as more stressful, more demanding or who had experienced more conflicts with their co-workers. Transition to retirement, thus, can be experienced as a relief, where there is an opportunity to engage in family and community roles in newly-acquired leisure time (Osborne, 2012; Wang, Henkens, & Solinge, 2011a). Unlike the emphasis on role change, the continuity theory argues that retirees adapt effectively to a new life-period if they have developed relationships, activities, a framework of thinking, and adaptive skills during their previous life-period and if they continue to use them after being retired, and thereby they maintain continuity (Atchley, 1989). Research suggests that an individual can maintain continuity even through part-time employment (Feldman & Beehr, 2001) or by maintaining leisure activities (Pushkar et al., 2011) after retiring. Continuity theory, therefore, suggests that a retired person is directly responsible for creating an adaptation strategy which may help them in their transition. Life course perspective theory, on the other hand, discusses two main factors influencing retirement: a) individual history - including past life transitions, working and recreational habits (Carr & Kail 2013), and b) individual attributes - such as demographics, health and financial status and transition capabilities (Griffin & Hesketh 2008; Wang, 2007). From a life course perspective, an individual who has flexibly addressed previous life transitions, who has been less socially integrated with their job and co-workers, and who has attributes effective for retirement adaptation, will experience a smooth transition to retirement (van Solinge & Henkens 2008; Wang & Shultz, 2010; Wang, et al., 2011a). A current model explaining the adaptation to retirement is the resource-based dynamic model for retirement adjustment, which recognizes adaptation as a process that depends on individual resources and changes of these resources (Wang et al., 2011a). The resources can be defined as the overall ability of an individual to meet their needs and are divided into seven categories: a) physical resources, including health or physical strength (Jex, Wang, & Zarubin, 2007); b) cognitive resources, including, for example, work memory (Wang & Chen 2006); c) financial resources, such as wage and retirement benefits (Hobfoll, 2002); d) social resources, e.g. social networking and social support (Kim & Feldman, 2000); e) emotional resources, such as emotional stability, sensitivity, mood (Wang, Liao, Zhan, & Shi, 2011b) and f) motivational resources, e.g. self-efficacy. Adaptation to retirement is a direct consequence of an individual's access to resources. If people have more resources to meet their retirement needs, transition and adaptation to retirement will be less demanding than for people who do not have enough resources (Topa & Valero, 2017; Wang, 2007). Based on the review of these theoretical models, it can be said that an adaptation of an individual depends on the importance he or she attributed to their job role (George, 1993; Osborne, 2012), whether they were able to maintain continuity in their activities, patterns of thoughts or relationships (Atchley, 1989, Pushkar et al., 2011), how well they coped with previous transit events (van Solinge & Henkens 2008), and whether they have sufficient resources, in social, financial or health areas (Wang et al., 2011a). During recent years, researchers and practitioners have been interested in understanding the factors which affect the transition from work to retirement. With the aim of a complex review of these factors, we have been inspired by the categorization of Wang and Schulz (2010), which was later edited in other articles (Wang et al., 2011; Wang & Hesketh, 2012). Factors in different areas (individual attributions; factors related to work before retirement; variables related to family; factors of transition to retirement, and activities after retiring) have been described and analyzed in terms of their positive or negative affect on retirement. Individual attributions with the positive effect on retirement adjustment have been identified as: good physical and mental health (e.g. Zhan et al., 2009; Silver et al., 2016), financial status, financial goals and literacy (e.g. Lusardi & Mitchell, 2011; Noone et al., 2009; Pinquart & Schindler, 2007), as well as health-related behavior (Jex et al., 2007; Topa & Vareno, 2017). Factors related to work before retirement with a positive effect on retirement adjustment have been identified as job stress, job demands and challenges (e.g. van Solinge & Henkens, 2008; van den Bogaard et al., 2016), as well as dissatisfaction at work and unemployment before retirement (Marshall et al., 2001; Pinquart & Schindler, 2007), since all of these factors contribute to experiencing relief from previously demanding job, and thereby to a better adjustment. Equally important are the factors related to family, such as marital status (Lee, 2016; Pinquart & Schindler, 2007), the quality of marriage (Szinovacz & Davey, 2004; Wang, 2007), and work status of a partner (Moen, Kim, & Hofmeister, 2001; Wang, 2007). It has been shown that the quality of adjustment also depends on the variables related to transition, whether the retirement was voluntary (Reitzes & Mutran, 2004; van Solinge, Henkens, 2007, 2008) and whether a retiree planned how they were going to spend their retirement (e.g. Hershey et al., 2007; Steffens et al., 2016). Moreover, research has shown that it is important for a retiree to stay active and engage in various activities, whether it is a paid job (e.g. Zhan et al., 2009; Quinn, 2010), voluntary work (Dorfman & Douglas, 2005; Griffin & Hesketh, 2008) or free-time activities (e.g. Silver et. al., 2016). Factors identified with a negative effect on transition to retirement were: health problems (Kim & Moen, 2002; Wang, 2007), identity of a work role (Reitzes & Mutran, 2004), physical job demands (Pinquart, & Schindler, 2007), number of dependent children and financial claims associated with care-giving (Kim & Feldman, 2000; Marshall et al., 2001), loss of a partner during the transition to retirement (van Solinge & Henkens, 2008) and involuntary early retirement (e.g. Dorn & Sousa-Poza, 2010; Heybroek et al., 2015). A higher awareness of positive and risk factors of adaptation on retirement may be beneficial to helping professionals as well as to seniors themselves in their transition from work to retirement. It may be therefore recommended that retirement training programs should focus on individual research-based factors with a positive effect on adaptation; such as retirement planning, engagement in free-time activities or voluntary work. Based on the identification of risk factors for adaptation to retirement, working psychologists or various organizations, such as clubs for retirees, could focus on mitigating the negative consequences of these factors. Although it is impossible to prevent some risk factors, such as loss of a partner, it is possible to develop supportive relationships in clubs of seniors, and also to facilitate learning effective coping-strategies as part of various preventive programs.
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Knowing which factors underlie beliefs concerning financial planning for retirement (FPR) among young adults is essential for designing interventions to support their actual FPR. Therefore, we examined predictors of FPR-related beliefs and current retirement savings in a sample of 502 employed Slovak adults aged 20 to 35 years. Actual savings and all dimensions of psychological preparedness for FPR were positively predicted by retirement financial literacy and self-rated financial literacy. Moreover, we found that perceived FPR emotional load decreases with education, and perceived FPR task complexity diminishes with age. Further, increasing income was predictive of a higher subjective FPR competence and a perception of FPR as less stressful. Finally, professional experience in the financial domain was linked to a higher self-assessed capability in terms of FPR, but also with a lower personal FPR engagement. Our findings stress the need for effective communication of information about FPR’s relevance to young people.
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The resource-based dynamic perspective posits that retirement adjustment quality is a direct result of an individual’s access to valuable resources during transition and in the post-retirement phase, while at the same time underscoring the need to explore the distal antecedents of adjustment quality. The present study aims to examine how distal antecedents—dispositional traits and motivational variables—influence older workers’ resource accumulation and, ultimately, how it affects retirement adjustment quality, under the resource-based dynamic perspective and Hobfoll’s resource theory. A three-wave study was designed with older Spanish workers (N = 455), who were still in active employment at time 1 and time 2 but who had retired within the last 4 months at time 3. Dispositional traits like optimism have predictive power as a gauge of resource accumulation in the short run, although not all of them were fully significant. Some unexpected findings are the limited impact of personal finances on retirement adjustment quality and the absolutely nugatory influence of cognitive resources on quality of life. The present study employs a widely validated measure of retirement adjustment quality, which should ensure comparability of findings with evidence obtained from other studies. © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS)
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The resource-based dynamic perspective has been applied in this study to explore retirees’ satisfaction, depression, and actual loss of resources. A three-wave design with Spanish workers who were in transition to retirement (N = 286) was used with the aim of investigating correlations between pre-retirement variables and post-retirement well-being. Participants were working at Time 1 and Time 2 but at Time 3, they had retired in the past year. Individual attributes (age), access to resources (life satisfaction and depression), situational characteristics (job stress, job tenure, and retirement transition quality), and psychological disposition (general self-efficacy and positive retirement expectations) at the first wave, correlated with the threat of loss at the second wave. Moreover, these predictors explained how people adjust to retirement at the third wave, assessed both directly (actual loss of resources) and indirectly (satisfaction with retirement and depression), via their effects on Time 2 variables. The results revealed that threat of loss had a positive relationship on loss of resources after retirement, and also both on retirement satisfaction and depression after retirement. Hence, this suggested several avenues for intervention targeting expectations and, in turn, increasing retirees’ well-being, which are discussed.
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Retirement is a major life event, and a positive adjustment to retirement is essential for maintaining physical and psychological well-being in later life. Previous research demonstrates that pre-retirement planning predicts post-retirement well-being. This study further explores the underlying mechanism between planning activities and post-retirement well-being. By applying the resource-based dynamic model (Wang et al., 2011), the present longitudinal study examines whether pre-retirement planning activities can increase the total resources of retirees, including tangible, mental and social resources, and consequently contribute to better psychological and physical well-being 1 year after actual retirement. A total of 118 Hong Kong Chinese retirees completed three assessments: Time 1 assessment was conducted 6 months before retirement, and Times 2 and 3 assessments were carried out 6 and 12 months, respectively, after retirement. Latent growth models were employed to examine changes in retirement resources and post-retirement well-being over time. Consistent with the proposition of the resource-based dynamic model, positive changes in well-being were observed in the retirees with increases in retirement resources between pre- and post-retirement phases. The results of the latent growth mediation models also support our prediction: retirees with more preparatory activities before retirement acquire greater resources at the initial stage, which contribute to positive changes in post-retirement well-being over time.
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We examine the extent to which multiple social identities are associated with enhanced health and well-being in retirement because they provide a basis for giving and receiving social support. Results from a cross-sectional study show that retirees (N = 171) who had multiple social identities following (but not prior to) retirement report being (a) more satisfied with retirement, (b) in better health, and (c) more satisfied with life in general. Furthermore, mediation analyses revealed an indirect path from multiple social identities to greater satisfaction with retirement and better health through greater provision, but not receipt, of social support to others. These findings are the first to point to the value of multiple group membership post-retirement as a basis for increased opportunities to give meaningful support to others. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications for the management of multiple identities in the process of significant life transitions such as retirement.
The effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental conditions (hassles, gratitude listing, and either neutral life events or social comparison); they then kept weekly (Study 1) or daily (Study 2) records of their moods, coping behaviors, health behaviors, physical symptoms, and overall life appraisals. In a 3rd study, persons with neuromuscular disease were randomly assigned to either the gratitude condition or to a control condition. The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
Gratitude has been described as an adaptive evolutionary mechanism that is relevant to healthy psychological and interpersonal outcomes. Questions remain as to whether the presence and benefits of gratitude are consistent from young adulthood to old age; prior research has yielded mixed evidence. We examined the magnitude and direction of age differences in gratitude in three samples (combined N = 31,206). We also examined whether gratitude was associated with greater/lesser well-being at different periods in the life course. We found that the experience of gratitude was greatest in older adults and least in middle aged and younger adults. Further, we found that the associations between gratitude and subjective well-being remained relatively constant across the lifespan. Findings are discussed from a developmental perspective.
This study investigated whether five positive psychological constructs (self-efficacy, gratitude, grit, hope, and optimism) had a combined effect on levels of depression. The co-occurrence of these psychological factors, defined as an example of covitality, was examined in relation to predicting lower levels of depression. Participants were 278 retirees living in Brisbane, Australia. Each participant completed either an online or hardcopy self-report, related to positive psychological functioning. A standard multiple regression found that self-efficacy, grit, optimism, and hope were individually all significant predictors of depression (small effect sizes); however, the combinatorial relation of all these four factors with depression was substantial (R2 =.34; large effect size). Gratitude was not a significant predictor. While no causality can be inferred from this cross-sectional study, having a combination of positive psychological factors might have an effect on levels of depression in retirement.
Objectives: The transition to retirement implies significant changes in daily routine and in the social environment. More specifically, it requires more self-directed efforts in order to stay socially engaged. Hence, for those who suffer from loneliness, the transition to retirement could result in increased depressive symptoms due to the lack of structured daily routine. Methods: We used two waves of the Health and Retirement Study, and tested whether the transition to retirement between the two waves moderates the effects of loneliness on depressive symptoms. Results: The transition to retirement moderated the effect of loneliness in wave 1 on depressive symptoms in wave 2, such that for those who retired, the effect was stronger in comparison to those who stayed employed. Conclusions: Although many manage to easily transition into retirement, lonely older workers are at increased risk for maladjustment and the experience of depressive symptoms following retirement. This group could perhaps benefit from interventions aimed at increasing daily social interactions and establishing a socially satisfying routine.