Keywords

Occupational science, Unemployment, Involuntary retirement, Choice, Resilience

Abstract

Paid work forms a pattern of occupational engagement that shifts during both unemployment and retirement. Similar to unemployment, the occupational disruption associated with involuntary retirement has been linked to poorer physical and mental health outcomes. To better understand the health impact of work transitions during the pre- and post-retirement years, 24 retired individuals with late-career unemployment were interviewed at the Huntsman World Senior Games in October 2016. Demographic data were collected. Braun and Clarke’s (2006) approach was utilized to thematically analyse the interview data and interpretations were evaluated against existing theory. Themes identified included struggle, freedom, and transition, followed by resilience and a return to well-being, with mental health levels reported at national averages for the age group. Choice and autonomy in the retirement years contributed to resilience. Concepts of productivity and meaningful engagement shift during the retirement years toward wellness derived from purposeful occupation, suggesting that occupational models may need to reconsider concepts of productivity and purpose for this age group.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2019

Publisher

JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL SCIENCE

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Psychology

Included in

Psychology Commons

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