Honeymoons and Joint Lunches: Effects of Retirement and Spouse's Employment on Depressive Symptoms

TitleHoneymoons and Joint Lunches: Effects of Retirement and Spouse's Employment on Depressive Symptoms
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsSzinovacz, ME, Davey, A
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences
Call Numberpubs_2004_szinovacz-Davey_Honeymoons.pdf
KeywordsAdult children, Demographics, Health Conditions and Status, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction

With hypotheses derived from a life course perspective in conjunction with life event stress and role theories, we examine whether spouse=s employment and length of retirement affect post-retirement depressive symptoms and whether such effects differ by gender. Analyses use pooled data from waves 1- 4 of the Health and Retirement Surveys (HRS), using a subsample of married individuals who either remained continuously employed over time or completely retired since the wave 1 interviews (N=2,695). Recently retired men seem to be negatively affected by their spouses= continuous employment when compared to men whose wives were continuously not employed. In contrast, spouses= joint retirement has a beneficial influence on both short-term and longer-retired men. However, for recently retired men the positive effect of wife=s retirement seems to be contingent on spouses= enjoyment of joint activities. Among women, effects of spouses= employment occur only among very recently retired wives (0-6 months). These wives report more depressive symptoms if their spouses were already non-employed prior to wives= retirement. These results demonstrate the complexity of retirement adaptation processes and suggest that marital context plays an important role in retirement well-being.

Endnote Keywords

Spouses/Retirement Behavior/Depressive Symptoms/Gender Differences

Endnote ID


Citation Key6928