Degree Date



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work and Social Research


This qualitative, exploratory study examines retirement expectations, retirement realities, and the subjective meanings of work and of retirement among ―leading edge‖ female members of the baby boom cohort. A case-centered research design with a purposive sample was utilized. Thirty female early retirees were recruited for the sample via snowball sampling techniques. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, either in-person or by telephone, using a guided interview schedule incorporating open-ended responses. Narrative thematic analysis was employed utilizing a coding scheme related to domains of interest. The study‘s major findings included that 90% of participants viewed their extensive employment as careers, rather than as supplementary family income; that two-thirds of the sample had experienced career discontinuity for family reasons; that 63% of participants saw their identity as closely bound to their work; and that participants valued productivity, with 53% continuing some workforce participation, and 57% providing caregiving for family members


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