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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2001 Jan;56(1):S20-7.

Influences of family obligations and relationships on retirement: variations by gender, race, and marital status.

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Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA 23507-1912, USA.



This study examined whether economic and care obligations for family and kin salience influence retirement decisions and whether such influences differ by race, gender, and marital status.


Data from the first 2 waves of the National Survey of Families and Households were used. The sample consisted of individuals who were employed at baseline and aged 55-75 at follow-up (N = 897). Cox proportional hazard regressions were used.


Economic kin obligations impeded the likelihood of retiring. Individuals who made financial contributions to children outside the household and White women with resident children in the household were less prone to retire. Among Blacks, household composition effects were more complex and seemed to depend on the mix of care obligations, financial obligations, and financial contributions by resident kin. Kin salience also impinged on retirement decisions. Some groups who lacked family ties (e.g., nonmarried childless men) were less inclined to retire, whereas other subgroups (e.g., nonmarried men with monthly pre-retirement contacts with children) were more likely to retire.


Our data suggest the importance of family obligations and relationships in retirement decisions and demonstrate considerable diversity in these processes. Models of retirement should pay greater attention to the interdependence of work and family spheres and to the diversity of retirement processes among various population groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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