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J Soc Issues. 2016 Mar;72(1):69-85. Epub 2016 Mar 9.

Retirement as Meaningful: Positive Retirement Stereotypes Associated with Longevity.

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1
Yale School of Public Health and Nanyang Technological University.
2
Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of Medicine.
3
Yale School of Public Health.

Abstract

Studies examining the association between retirement and health have produced mixed results. This may be due to previous studies treating retirement as merely a change in job status rather than a transition associated with stereotypes or societal beliefs (e.g., retirement is a time of mental decline or retirement is a time of growth). To examine whether these stereotypes are associated with health, we studied retirement stereotypes and survival over a 23-year period among 1,011 older adults. As predicted by stereotype embodiment theory, it was found that positive stereotypes about physical health during retirement showed a survival advantage of 4.5 years (hazard ratio = 0.88, p = .022) and positive stereotypes about mental health during retirement tended to show a survival advantage of 2.5 years (hazard ratio = 0.87, p = .034). Models adjusted for relevant covariates such as age, gender, race, employment status, functional health, and self-rated health. These results suggest that retirement preparation could benefit from considering retirement stereotypes.

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