So now what? Effects of retirement on civic engagement

L. van den Bogaard, K. Henkens, M. Kalmijn

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Retirement is an event that often brings about great changes in a person’s personal and social life. For many people, work is not only a way to fill time and earn money, but also important for their identity and meaning in life. After retirement, these benefits of work are lost, and it is expected that people will seek substitutes for this loss. This paper focuses on the effects of retirement on informal civic activities such as the support given to family and friends as well as more formal types such as volunteering and organisational involvement. Using two waves from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study, a conditional change model is employed. Two groups are compared: men and women who kept working, and men and women who retired. Results show that following retirement, people appear to change the nature of some relationships by providing more instrumental support. Furthermore, retirees seem to start spending more time volunteering after retirement, and they increase their organisational memberships. Implications, strengths and limitations of the study are discussed.
KEY WORDS – retirement, retirement effects, family relationships, friendships,volunteering, civic engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1170-1192
JournalAgeing & Society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • retirement
  • retirement effects
  • Family relationships,
  • friendships
  • volunteering
  • civic engagement
  • SSCI


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