Everybody's working for the weekend: changes in enjoyment of everyday activities across the retirement threshold

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Background: the aim of this study was to explore the associations between use of time and momentary hedonic affect (‘enjoyment’) in adults in the peri-retirement period.

Methods: a total of 124 adults [61 males, 63 females; age 62 (4) years] completed a computerised use-of-time recall on 4 days at each of four time points (3–6 months pre-, 3, 6 and 12 months post-retirement), as well as surveys regarding self-reported health, well-being, sleep quality and loneliness. They reported how much they enjoyed each activity on a 0–10 scale. An individual Enjoyment Index was calculated as the time-weighted average of each participant's enjoyment ratings. Time-weighted enjoyment ratings were also calculated for nine mutually exclusive and exhaustive activity domains (Sleep, Chores, Work, Social, Screen Time, Self-care, Quiet Time, Transport, Physical Activity) and sub-domains.

Results: the mean (±SD) Enjoyment Index was 7.43 ± 0.61, and was significantly and positively associated with well-being (P = 0.003 to P < 0.0001) and sleep quality (P = 0.03 to P < 0.0001), and negatively associated with loneliness (P = 0.003 to P < 0.0001). Mean Enjoyment Index values increased significantly (P < 0.0001) from pre-retirement (7.19 ± 0.82) to post-retirement (7.46 ± 0.89, 7.42 ± 0.91 and 7.49 ± 0.89 at 3, 6 and 12 months post-retirement). There were significant differences in enjoyment across domains, with Physical Activity (7.86 ± 1.11) and Social (7.66 ± 0.85) being the most enjoyable, and Work (7.10 ± 0.89) and Chores (7.09 ± 0.85) the least enjoyable.

Conclusion: enjoyment of everyday activities increased after retirement and remained elevated for at least 12 months. Work appears to constitute a relative hedonic deficit.

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