Working for life: An analysis of life satisfaction and delayed retirement among older college faculty

TitleWorking for life: An analysis of life satisfaction and delayed retirement among older college faculty
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsLawrence, KE
AdvisorJones, TB
Number of Pages160
UniversitySam Houston State University
CityHuntsville, TX
Thesis TypeDissertation
Accession Numberprod.academic_MSTAR_1318856882
KeywordsDelaying retirement, Life Satisfaction

Purpose: The aging of the professoriate may be the most important issue in higher education today. When faculty members will choose to retire and how effectively they are replaced is a crucial problem for many institutions. Yet very little data are available on faculty retirement timing. The purpose of this study was to test life-span trajectory theory by comparing individual life-span factors to individual retirement decisions, thus yielding results that may be useful to college administrators. Longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study (FIRS) were used to investigate any differences in life satisfaction, marital status, gender, ethnicity, and region among members of college faculty who delayed their retirement ( n = 420) and those faculty who retired when eligible (n = 931). By analyzing which factors are correlated with the decision to delay retirement, this study should provide data to assist college administrators in improving their recruitment and hiring practices. Method: In this study, the research design was non-experimental causal comparative. Separate Pearson chi-square analyses were performed for (a) delayed retirement status and life satisfaction rating, (b) delayed retirement status and gender, (c) delayed retirement status and marital status, (d) delayed retirement status and ethnicity, and (e) delayed retirement status and region. A discriminant analysis was performed to determine if the dependent variables could predict membership in the two groups (i.e., delayed retirement, did not delay retirement). Findings: The most significant predictors of delayed retirement were gender, ethnicity, and region. Results indicate that faculty who were male, Hispanic and from the Northeast region were more inclined to delay retirement, whereas faculty members who were female, White, from the South or West region were more inclined to retire when eligible. Results are discussed and suggestions are made in terms of the need for greater study of the relationship between gender, ethnicity, region, life satisfaction, marital status, and retirement decisions. KEY WORDS: Delayed retirement, Academic labor planning, Life-span theory, Productive aging, Life-course theory, Life satisfaction, College faculty retirement, Successful aging, Continuity theory, Defined benefit pension plan, Defined cost pension plan.

Endnote Keywords

retirement planning

Endnote ID


Citation Key6402