Scary Uncertainty: An Analysis of Social-Role Control Among Community-Dwelling Retirees in New Zealand
With New Zealand’s ageing population increasing, knowledge on ageing citizens’ intentions and retirement lifestyles is of growing importance for future government policies. Most research to date, however, has been quantitative. New Zealand lacks in-depth micro-level forms of qualitative analysis on ageing citizens’ retirement intentions and experiences. This research conducted semi-structured interviews with 16 participants, all above the pension age (65 years). Listening to their ageing experiences, I focused on how successfully these participants executed their retirement goals. Data were analysed through thematic analysis. Key transitional life-events during participants’ ageing years included leaving the workforce, death of spouse, or the onset of a serious illness. Participants who had these life-events experienced significant alterations to their self-concept, retirement intentions and behaviour. Three types of social networks were influential on participants’ retirement: geographically close friends, children and grandchildren, and their spouse. The influence and significance of these relationships differed, reflecting some of the variation among New Zealand’s ageing population. All participants displayed the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy’s concept of positive ageing. However, individual factors were more influential over participants’ living situations, as opposed to effective government policies or local council actions. Furthermore, the Positive Ageing Strategy places little emphasis on ageing citizens’ family-lives, as well as the common trend of retirees wanting time for leisure and self-discovery. More qualitative research on other sub-groups in New Zealand’s ageing population is required to facilitate effective government policies and region-specific issues.
Advisor: Tolich, Martin; Barusch, Amanda
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Retirement; Ageing; Pension
Research Type: Thesis