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An exploration of the retirement transition: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Bullock, Jodie (2015) An exploration of the retirement transition: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. University of Gloucestershire. (Unpublished)


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Retirement is viewed as a journey involving a psychosocial transition rather than a single event of exiting work (Matour & Prout, 2007). Previous research suggests the retirement transition can be beneficial to individual’s psychological well-being (Kim & Moen, 2002), other suggests individuals can experience maladjustment (Kim & Moen, 2002; Kloep & Hendry, 2006). Research in this area has been dominated by quantitative methods, therefore this current study utilises a qualitative approach to explore the personal experiences of the retirement transition to provide a deeper understanding. Four participants were interviewed who have retired from professional jobs. The present study aimed to explore the positive and negative aspects, including any psychological impact the retirement transition had upon individuals’ well-being. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was chosen where four master themes were constructed i) the impact of retirement on the self, ii) a new found freedom of time, iii) experiences of being retired made through social meanings, and iv) the importance of staying engaged in meaningful activity. Implications, strengths and weaknesses of the study are also discussed.

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