Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 3 » Life Course - Ktey Concepts And Distinctions, Contributions To Aging, Challenges And Developments In Conducting Life Course Research

Life Course - Contributions To Aging

research retirement influence process

Life course contributions to aging have increased dramatically since the mid-1980s as questions about aging and later life have incorporated life course concepts. One example of this influence can be seen through research on retirement. Rather than viewing retirement as a single transition from full-time work to a full exit from the labor force, research from the life course perspective has directed attention to retirement as a process and questioned whether this process changes over time. While some workers do retire in a single transition, this is by no means the case for all, or even a majority of workers (Elder and Pavalko; Mutchler et al.). Comparisons across birth cohorts also indicate a trend toward workers starting the process earlier but drawing it out over a longer period of time (Elder and Pavalko; Han and Moen). Other research on retirement has shown the influence of prior earlier work and family careers on the retirement process (Han and Moen; O'Rand and Henretta).

The life course perspective has also illuminated the midlife pathways that promote successful aging in later life. For example, Phyllis Moen examines women's involvement in family and nonfamily roles in midlife and then examines the influence of those roles on later health, well-being, and survival into later life (Moen et al.). Research on men's midlife career patterns has similarly demonstrated the influence of career patterns on longevity (Pavalko, Elder, and Clipp).

Finally, emerging research on the intersection between the state and the life course raises new questions about how definitions of various life stages, including later life, change over time (Mayer and Schoepflin). One important message from this line of research is that our current definitions of different life stages are defined by larger institutional structures. We should thus expect these definitions to change as institutional structures and policies such as education, work, and pensions are transformed. Attention to these changes is important for adding context to our current understanding of various life stages but also offers a framework for thinking about how larger institutions shape the life course.

Life Course - Challenges And Developments In Conducting Life Course Research [next] [back] Life Course - Ktey Concepts And Distinctions

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