Adjustment to Retirement:The Moderating Role of Attachment Dikla Segel, Peter Bamberger
Introduction: Adjustment to Retirement Retirement has become a long and meaningful phase in the older adult’s life (e.g: Wiatrowski, 2001). Encompasses many changes in lifestyle and requires adjustment Inconsistencies regarding the effect of retirement on well-being (positive effects, negative effects or no effects) and the factors shaping the adjustment process (Wang, 2007).
Existing Research and ResearchGaps Research mainly focused on social attributes as predictors of adjustment (wealth, marital status, previous employment). Psychological variables and personality attributes have been relatively neglected (Wang & Shultz, 2009). Personality attributes may affect how the retirement transition is framed and thus condition the effects of changes experienced
This research: Aims: To reconcile research inconsistencies and fill research gaps by: Identifying boundary conditions Using a psychological framework – attachment theory Attachment will condition the effects of changes experienced in retirement (focusing on changes in financial situation and social involvement) on well-being Longitudinal research design
Attachment Theory as a Key Personality Attribute Attachment is an innate behavioral system that functions to protect from danger by proximity seeking behaviors. It is shaped at infancy as a result of early interactions with the caregiver. Shapes later development of other personal attributes, shapes expectation and behaviors in personal relations, coping and adjustment capabilities. Two orthogonal dimensions underlie attachment style: avoidance and anxiety.
Attachment StyleAttachment avoidance – Attachment anxiety –deactivation strategy hyperactivation strategy Uncomfortable with Desire very close relations dependence and closeness and seek proximity to others Depend on others for Emotionally distant and feelings of confidence and self reliant self-worth Suppress distress Make catastrophic Avoid support seeking evaluations of situation Dwell on negative emotions
Attachment StyleAttachment avoidance – Attachment anxiety -deactivation strategy hyperactivation strategy Uncomfortable with Desire very close relations dependence and closeness and seek proximity to others Depend on others for Emotionally distant and feelings of confidence and self reliant self-worth Suppress distress Make catastrophic Avoid support seeking evaluations of situation Dwell on negative emotions Exposed to maladjustment Exposed to maladjustment
Attachment Security: when attachment anxietyand attachment avoidance are low Comfortable in close relationships Efficient in mobilizing and using social support Appraise situations in a benign way Sense of self-worth and high levels of self-esteem Perceive distress and manageable Relatively resilient to stressors Attachment security considered a valuable personal resource while attachment insecurities (avoidance and anxiety) are a burden.
Financial Situation in Retirement and Well-being Inconsistencies in research: some report no relation between financial situation or financial changes and well-being in retirement (e.g: Zimmerman, 2005); others do (Cummins, 2000). The moderating role of attachment: Attachment insecurity places the individual at a disadvantage when dealing with decline in income:
Anxiety Avoidance Income decline in retirement is Make catastrophic (almost) inevitable appraisals of and hence harms situations. May the ability to exert perceive income control and may decline as an acute lead to threat and respond dependence. Thus,with elevated distress. it may cause elevated distress.
H1: Attachment avoidance will moderate the relations between income decline and well- being, such that high levels of attachment avoidance will amplify the relation between income decline and well-being.H2: Attachment anxiety will moderate therelations between income decline and well-being, such that high levels of attachmentavoidance will amplify the relation betweenincome decline and well-being.
Involvement Changes andAttachment The transition to retirement may allow the elderly to give priority to desired activities. The ability to benefit from social involvement may be dependent on attachment style Attachment security allows one to develop adequate social skills and social self efficacy. It allows exploration of opportunities. The securely attached may be more able to benefit from new social roles and interactions.
Anxiety Avoidance may promote may promote ahyper-vigilance to perception of social rejection cues and interaction asperception of social unimportant and interactions as uninteresting negative
H3. Attachment anxiety will moderate the relation between increase in social involvement and well-being, such that high levels of attachment anxiety will weaken the relation between increased social involvement and well-being.H4: Attachment avoidance will moderate therelation between increase in socialinvolvement and well-being, such that highlevels of attachment avoidance will weakenthe relation between increased socialinvolvement and well-being.
MethodT1 (2003):560 Time 2blue collar (2008) Time 3 (2010)American 276 had 251 respondentworkers retired Mean age 65Mean age 58 Attachment: (T3) Changes in household income: T1-T2 Well-being (T3): •Depression Changes in •Psychosomatic involvement: T2-T1 complaints •Health
Measurements Involvement: 5 forms of activities: family, religious org’, educational and cultural org’, charity & community, sports & recreation. Attachment: Experience in Close Relationship Scale (Brennan, Clark & Shaver, 1998). Well-being: Depression: CESD (Radloff, 1977) Psychosomatic complaints (Caplan,1975) Health: Number of diagnosed illnesses (National Institute on Aging) Analytical Procedure: linear regressions for depression and somatic complaints. Poisson regression for health.
1,65 * Depressionlow avoidance 1,6 1,55mean avoidance 1,5 1,45 1,4high avoidance 1,35 1 2 3 Decrease in income 1,8 1,75 ** low avoidance complaints 1,7 † Somatic 1,65 1,6 mean avoidance 1,55 1,5 high avoidance 1,45 1,4 1,35 Decrease in income 2 low avoidance 1,8 ** 1,6 Number of illnesses 1,4 1,2 mean avoidance 1 0,8 0,6 high avoidance 0,4 0,2 0 Decrease in income
2 Depression low anxiety 1,5 † mean anxiety 1 * 0,5 high anxiety 0 Increase in involvement 2 **low anxiety complaints Somatic 1,5 1mean anxiety 0,5high anxiety 0 Increase in involvement 2 1,8 1,6 Number of illnesses 1,4low avoidance 1,2 1 **mean avoidance 0,8 0,6high avoidance 0,4 0,2 0 Increase in involvement
Discussion and Conclusions The effects of changes experienced in retirement on well-being are conditioned by individuals’ attachment. Attachment anxiety and avoidance are boundary conditions for the effects of changes in income and involvement on well-being Income drop has negative effect on well-being only when attachment avoidance is high. Involvement contributes to well-being when attachment is relatively secure.
Income and Avoidance Decline in income may be perceived as uncontrollable and inevitable, thus destructive to those who are most reluctant to lose control and fear of dependence. Avoidant individuals tendency to suppress emotions and avoid coping with their distress may be especially ineffective and extremely resource demanding in the long run dealing with chronic stress. Alternative: Severe income decline may promote social withdrawal and aggravate avoidance tendencies. Attachment anxiety has no effect, perhaps due to the long time gaps.
Involvement and Attachment Increased social involvement decreases depression when anxiety is low or average. Increased social involvement when attachment anxiety is high results in elevated levels of psychosomatic complaints. High levels of anxiety are related to worries about rejection and abandonment. It poses individuals at risk for experiencing distress caused by social interactions and hinders the ability to benefit from it. Avoidant individuals are not as sensitive to social activities, more prone to experience physiological reactivity as a response to stress. Hence physical health is more adversely affected when avoidance is high, but not when anxiety is high.
Practical Implications andLimitations Help map populations in risk for experiencing difficulties in the adjustment process (those who may not benefit from involvement and may be distressed by income decline) Limitations and future research: Results may be similar for other losses and gains experienced in older adulthood. We only accounted for 2 independent variables. Other boundary conditions for adaptation to retirement. Additional measurements to account for both the short and long term effects.
Depression somatic Health Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SEIncome Slope of income -0.03† 0.16 -0.02 0.01 -.05 .03 when avoidance is low Slope of income 0.005 0.01 0.02† 0.009 .02 .02 when avoidance is mean Slope of income 0.04* 0.03 .055** 0.02 .08** .03 when avoidance is highInvolvement Slope of -0.12* 0.06 -0.04 0.02 involvement when anxiety is low Slope of -0.02† 0.04 0.06 0.04 involvement when anxiety is mean Slope of 0.08 0.06 .16** .06 involvement when anxiety is high Slope of -.62** .12 involvement when avoidance is low Slope of -.12 .08 involvement when avoidance is mean Slope of .12 .12 involvement when avoidance is high