Leaving Quietly? A Quantitative Study of Retirement Rituals and How They Affect Life Satisfaction

L. van den Bogaard

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This study quantitatively explores the understudied topic of retirement rituals, what factors influence them, and how the experience of such rites of passage may affect postretirement satisfaction with life (SWL). Various regression
techniques are applied to 2 waves of Dutch panel data gathered among 832 retirees. Retirement rituals were measured in 2 ways: via the perceived effort put into the ritual, and via details regarding the presentation of a retirement gift.
SWL was assessed through 3 questions of the typical scale. The findings provide evidence that functioning and social connectedness at work positively, and involuntary retirement negatively influence the extensiveness of retirement
rituals. These outcomes imply that it is embeddedness at work rather than hierarchal position that shapes retirement rituals. The most important finding is that the experienced retirement ritual is positively associated to postretirement
SWL, and mostly so for those who perceive themselves a highly competent in their work. No such interaction was found for retirement anxiety. Although the observed connection between retirement rituals and SWL is not large,
this finding is important for employers, employees, and policy makers when considering farewell ceremonies and the rules and customs that surround them, and warrants further research into this relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-65
JournalWork, Aging and Retirement
Issue number1
Early online date10 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • retirement
  • life satisfaction
  • SSCI


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