Is retirement good or bad for subjective well-being?

Jungmeen E. Kim, Phyllis Moen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Retirement has been viewed either as a transition that is accompanied by psychological distress or as a time of continued, or even enhanced, subjective well-being. Existing evidence is mixed, with some studies reporting retirement as positively related to well-being and others reporting a negative relationship or none at all. Our research indicates that developmental and social contexts shape an individual's retirement decisions and experiences, so that retirement should be studied in its ecological and life-course context. Research on marital quality and subjective well-being in retirement has demonstrated both similarities and differences between men and women, as well as the need to consider couples conjointly (rather than viewing individuals in isolation). Future research focusing on the retirement process as it unfolds over time and in ecological context can serve to illuminate the circumstances under which retirement promotes or detracts from the quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-86
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2001


  • Ecological approach
  • Life course
  • Life quality
  • Retirement
  • Subjective well-being


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