Linking Retirement Experiences and Marital Satisfaction: A Mediational Model

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Abstract

The authors propose and test a mediational model linking the experience of retirement with marital satisfaction. The experience of retirement (financial strain, time structure, a sense of purposefulness, and interpersonal contacts) is held to predict marital satisfaction indirectly through its sequential effects on context-specific well-being (retirement-specific satisfaction with health, activities, and peers) and context-free well-being (depressive symptoms). Both this model and a revised model in which retirement satisfaction also exerted a direct effect on marital satisfaction were supported using structural equation modeling on data from 164 retirees (mean age = 69 years). An alternative model in which depressive symptoms assume a predictive rather than mediational role was not supported; cross-lagged regression analyses excluded the possibility that marital dissatisfaction resulted in depressive symptoms. The conceptual and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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