Retirement Attitudes: Considering Etiology, Measurement, Attitude-Behavior Relationships, and Attitudinal Ambivalence

Daniel A. Newman, Gahyun Jeon and Charles L. Hulin

in The Oxford Handbook of Retirement

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

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Retirement Attitudes: Considering Etiology, Measurement, Attitude-Behavior Relationships, and Attitudinal Ambivalence

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Attitudes—overall positive or negative evaluations of an object—have played a prominent role in classic models of retirement from work. This chapter attempts to make four contributions to the study of attitudes toward retirement. First, we extend the Cornell model of role evaluations (Smith, Kendall, & Hulin, 1969 ) to specify the origins of retirement attitudes. Second, we review the major instruments designed to measure retirement attitudes. This review reveals nine distinct categories of scientific constructs: (a) attitudes toward retirement (the role state of being retired), (b) attitudes toward retiring (the role transition decision), (c) attitudes toward retirees (including stereotypes about retired persons), (d) beliefs and expectations about retirement (attributes of retirement; what it is like), (e) retirement preferences/desires (e.g., “if I had a choice, I would retire at age 55…”), (f) behavioral intentions (e.g., “I intend to retire at age 55…”), (g) planning/preparation activities (e.g., saving money), (h) retirement efficacy or perceived control (ability to retire), and (i) retirement entitlement (e.g., the belief that a person who works hard does or does not deserve to be able to retire). Third, we discuss retirement in light of two models of the attitude-behavior relationship. We begin by integrating retirement attitudes and related behavioral constructs into an extended theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991 ) model of retirement, which also includes social identity and anticipated affect as antecedents of the behavioral desire to retire; we then specify the retirement implications of the attitude-engagement model (Harrison, Newman, & Roth, 2006 ; Hanisch & Hulin, 1991 ). Fourth, we propose a future research focus on retirement ambivalence—simultaneously holding positive and negative views toward retirement.

Keywords: attitudes; retirement; job satisfaction; withdrawal; behavioral engagement; ambivalence

Article.  11660 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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