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expanders

Less May Be More:

Changes in Leisure and Well-Being

among Recent Retirees in the US

Galit Nimrod, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Megan Janke, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Douglas Kleiber, University of Georgia


Purpose

To examine the associations

between changes in leisure behavior

and subjective well-being

among recently retired individuals in the U.S.


Background

• retiring from work = major transition

• the additional free time = main challenge

successful coping with this challenge =

better adaptation to retirement


Possible behaviors in

post retirement leisure (Nimrod 2007)

Scope

Frequency

Increased Decreased,

or not changed

Increased expanders diffusers

Decreased,

or not changed

concentrators

reducers


Findings from an Israeli study

• Most retirees (43%) were reducers!

expanders - 35%

concentrators & diffusers - 11% each

• Significant differences in sociodemographics,

pre and post retirement leisure involvement

• Significant differences in life satisfaction

expanders & concentrators > reducers


Conclusions from the Israeli study

The best adaptation to retirement =

• concentrating - for people with rich preretirement

leisure repertoire

• expanding - for people with limited preretirement

leisure repertoire

Implications for

- continuity theory (Atchley, 1989)

- innovation theory (Nimrod & Kleiber, 2007)


Why repeating this study in the US?

Nimrod, Janke, and Kleiber (2008) found

significant differences in leisure participation

between American and Israeli retirees

• before retiring – US > Israel

• after retiring – More Israelis add new activities and/ or

increase frequency of participation

• the result - US < Israel

Americans - more inclined towards continuity

Israelis - stronger inclination towards innovation


These dissimilarities led to questions of

whether the differences found between

reducers, concentrators, diffusers, and expanders

in Israel

would be evident in retirement data

in the United States.


Method

• Secondary analysis of data from the

Americans’ Changing Lives dataset (House, 2003)

collected in 1986, 1989, and 1994

• 430 individuals who retired between waves

▫ mean age of 66.2 at Time 1

▫ 67% white

▫ 70% female

▫ 50% middle class socio-economic status

▫ Average retirement duration at Time 2 - 2.5 years


Measurement:

• Leisure participation before and after retirement

• SWB - Life satisfaction and depression (CES-D)

• Sociodemographics and health


Findings


Frequency of the four types

concentrators

16%

diffusers

12%

reducers

51%

expanders

21%


Changes in leisure participation (scope)

Preretirement

Post-

Retirement

Mean

Change

Std.

Deviation

t-score

Reducers 6.00 a 5.04 a, b, c -.96 1.07 -13.20***

Concentrators 6.36 b,d 6.09 a -.28 .59 -3.87***

Diffusers 5.76 c,d 6.57 b .80 .61 9.56***

Expanders 5.10 a, b, c 6.51 c 1.41 .91 14.70***

Total Sample 5.84 5.70 -.14 1.34 -2.09*

*p ≤ .05; ***p ≤ .001


Changes in leisure participation (frequency)

Average # of

Activities

with

Increased

Frequency

Average # of

Activities

with

Decreased

Frequency

Mean

Change

Std.

Deviation

t-score

Reducers .99 2.82 -1.83 1.54 -17.56***

Concentrators 2.39 1.09 1.30 1.02 10.63***

Diffusers 1.71 1.88 -.18 1.11 -1.14

Expanders 3.48 .70 2.78 1.47 17.87***

Total Sample 1.83 1.98 -.15 2.36 -1.34

***p ≤ .001


Differences in background characteristics

and specific activity involvement

• No significant differences in background

• Differences in activity involvement:

phone, clubs,

walking, exercising

gardening

religious activities

visiting with

friends and family

volunteering

reducers < all other groups

reducers < concentrators + expanders

reducers < expanders

reducers < concentrators + expanders

diffusers < expanders

expanders < concentrators + diffusers


Differences in Depression

and Life Satisfaction

Overall, the sample was satisfied with life

and did not report many depressive symptoms

Differences between the groups:

• Depression - no significant differences

• Life satisfaction -

concentrators > other groups (p ≤ 0.10)

reducers = expanders & diffusers


No drama!!


Israel:

expanding & concentrating life satisfaction

US:

concentrating life satisfaction


Best adaptation

Israel:

Innovation

US:

Selection and Optimization


Conclusion:

In leisure oriented cultures

selecting only more meaningful activities

and expanding involvement only with them

would be

a relatively more adaptive strategy

Less May Be More


Thank you

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