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Title: What is the psychological impact of retirement on men? : an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Author: Gee, Prunella Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 0454
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores male retirement from a psychological standpoint. Its participants are 7 men from all over the UK who were interviewed at 3 Time-points: 4 months before retirement, and 6 and 15 months after, making this a 19-month investigation. Participants were recruited from a website,, which caters to the over 60 retirement population. The sample, for methodological reasons homogeneous, consisted of white, middle-class, middle- to high-earning, married white-collar workers. The study is located within two literatures: extant retirement theoretical and empirical research, and existential perspectives. This is an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, epistemologically underpinned by phenomenology, hermeneutics and idiography. Analysis is thereby inductive (drawn from idiographic data and not theory), interpretative (I try to make sense of the participants trying to make sense of their experience), and interrogative (compares results with extant research). Results reveal 5 focus areas: (1) retirement experienced either as a mysterious un-known, or a return to familiarity – those who experienced it as unknown before retirement still found it so ten months later; (2) the importance of agency in the retirement process, (3) the paradoxical nature of freedom, and the multifarious purposes of busy-ness; (4) the ontological effects of retirement (a connection with masculinity was detected) and (5) the ever-present and underlying existential discomfort which the new lens of retirement throws on ageing and the prospect of death. The following were also noted: life-span influences were found to be relevant to retirement perspective; mattering and recognition, although crucial for some, are almost completely un-explored in retirement literature; generativity is vital (for most) for identity, sociality, and fulfilling meaningful projects; “voluntary retirement” may not feel voluntary; ageism may be the result and not the cause of retirement; retirement is a group-level process, so there is need for more investigation into the dynamics of both group-belonging and group-change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available