Occupation directly impacts a woman's retirement, study says

COLUMBUS, Ohio Women doctors, teachers and other professionals may have a tougher time adjusting to retirement than do women who hold jobs customarily considered nonprofessional, such as clerical positions and cafeteria help, reports a new study from Ohio State University.

Nearly 30 retired women about half of who had been employed in professional careers and half who had held nonprofessional jobs were asked about their retirement experience. Most of the women retirees in the study found the transition to retirement to be generally positive, and the majority spent a good part of their free time volunteering and taking care of their families.

Christine Price

But there were some fundamental differences between how women in the professional group and those in the nonprofessional group perceived retirement, said Christine Price, author of the study and an assistant professor of human development and family science at Ohio State.

For instance, women who worked in professional occupations reported feeling a sense of loss once they left their jobs, while women who held nonprofessional jobs felt relieved to retire.

Also, women in the professional group tended to base their decision to retire on pension eligibility and health concerns, while women in the other group based their retirement decision on family issues, such as being able to spend more time with grandchildren.

"More and more women are seeing employment as a lifetime commitment. It's likely that women do and will continue to identify more closely with their work roles, and the results from this study may show what future generations of women will face when they retire."

"Women in the nonprofessional group explored new interests with no feelings of loss," Price said. "In comparison, women in the professional group enjoyed the retirement experience overall, yet still felt a sense of loss."

The research appears in a recent issue

Contact: Christine Price
Ohio State University

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