Women’s Retirement, Occupation and Depressive Symptoms

Michelle Pannor Silver, University of Chicago

This paper explores whether women who retire from professional occupations experience lower rates of depressive symptoms as compared to women retiring from nonprofessional occupations. The theoretical frameworks underlying this study include: role theory, continuity theory, and the life course perspective. The premise for this paper is based on the assumption that retirement is a highly autonomous and potentially creative time and that professional occupations are more likely to be autonomous and potentially creative than nonprofessional occupations. Findings suggest there are key differences for women retiring from professional and nonprofessional occupations, namely that there may be something positive about the experience of working in a professional occupation which is expressed through the retirement transition. This paper highlights the importance of considering the heterogeneity among women’s retirement transitions and to considering characteristics which are constant over time but may be potentially unobservable or un-measurable.

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Presented in Poster Session 6