The Association between Retirement and Emotional Well-Being: Does Prior Work-Family Conflict Matter?

Kathryn Coursolle, University of California, Los Angeles
Megan M. Sweeney, University of California, Los Angeles
Jeong Hwa Ho, University of Wisconsin at Madison

This study investigates whether the association between retirement and emotional well-being depends on prior experience of work-family conflict. Using the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study data from 1993 and 2004, we estimate linear regression models and fixed effects models of positive psychological functioning and symptoms of depression. Retirement is associated with relatively fewer depressive symptoms among individuals who had previously high levels of work-to-family conflict. We find evidence suggestive of a similar association with respect to positive psychological functioning after accounting for unobserved characteristics of individuals. Among individuals reporting high levels of family-to-work conflict at midlife, our results suggest that retirement tends to be associated with better emotional well-being among men than women. Retirement may come more as a relief than a stressor for individuals previously experiencing high levels of work-to-family conflict. However, particularly among women, retirement may not relieve the burdens of family life stressors.

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Presented in Session 106: Work and Family in Later Life