The Life Course Perspective on Life in the Post-retirement Period

Paul Wink and Jacquelyn Boone James

in The Oxford Handbook of Retirement

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746521
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The Life Course Perspective on Life in the Post-retirement Period

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The conceptualization of the life course is a function of economic, demographic, and sociocultural forces. We use Laslett’s (1989) concept of the Third Age as a framework to discuss various influences on life in the post-retirement period among contemporary Americans and consider factors likely to shape patterns of aging among the baby-boom generation. We conclude that Laslett’s idyllic dream of the Third Age characterized by an enlightened pursuit of self-fulfillment is unlikely to be fully realized. Instead, the patterns of today will include a proliferation of choices, increasing longevity, and health, but also a growing discrepancy between the haves and have-nots. For most Americans, post-retirement life will be marked by improvements in physical health and fitness if not self-understanding.

Keywords: retirement; Third Age; socioeconomic factors; health

Article.  10978 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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