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The Role of Personality in Retirement Adjustment: Longitudinal Evidence for the Effects on Life Satisfaction

Journal article
Authors Isabelle Hansson
Georg Henning
Sandra Buratti
Magnus Lindwall
Marie Kivi
Boo Johansson
Anne Ingeborg Berg
Published in Journal of personality
ISSN 0022-3506
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Centre for Ageing and Health (Agecap)
Language en
Keywords Big Five, individual resources, life satisfaction, personality, retirement adjustment
Subject categories Older people and ageing, Psychology


Objective: Research on retirement suggests that personality can influence the adjustment process, but the mechanisms involved remain still largely unknown. In the present study, we investigate direct and indirect associations between the Big Five personality traits and life satisfaction over the retirement transition. Indirect effects were evaluated through the role of personality for levels and changes in self‐esteem, autonomy, social support, self‐rated physical health, self‐rated cognitive ability, and financial satisfaction. Method: Our sample consisted of 796 older adults (age 60–66) and four annual measurement waves from the longitudinal population‐based HEalth, Ageing, and Retirement Transitions in Sweden (HEARTS) study, including individuals retiring during the study period. Results: Results from multivariate latent growth curve analysis revealed multiple indirect associations between personality and life satisfaction. Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness were positively related to life satisfaction through higher levels of self‐esteem, autonomy, and social support. Neuroticism was negatively associated with life satisfaction through lower levels of self‐esteem and lower levels and negative changes in autonomy and social support. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that retirees with higher levels of Neuroticism are more vulnerable in the transition process and they are also more likely to experience adjustment problems resulting from negative changes in key resources.

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