In their own words : divorced and widowed women, retirement, and friendships Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rr172069m

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  • Friends benefit both our psychological and our emotional well-being by increasing overall happiness, life satisfaction, and a positive sense of self among women. Often, however, friendships decrease in the later years. The purpose of this study is to learn more about divorced or widowed, retired women and their friendships, specifically, whether friendships changed from work to retirement. Friendships have been clearly identified by women as a significant component of retirement life. The importance of friendship increases with age, and friends have been found to buffer single women in particular from becoming isolated in retirement. The sample recruited for this study consisted of 20 single, career women who had been retired between five and ten years and who were not coresiding with another person. This study utilized in-depth, qualitative interviewing to enable participants to define themselves and their experiences. Overall, it appeared as though these women were very satisfied with retirement and considered it to be a positive experience. Even though workplace friendships had gradually been lost since retirement, this loss was considered normal and former coworkers were considered to be on different paths from the retirees. Workplace friends were often not whom the women felt closest to or socialized with preretirement; consequently this gradual drifting and loss of workplace friendships was not considered problematic. The women overall were making new friends. Various types of discord among friends were also reported. Discord had negative affects but did not necessarily cause dissolution of the friendship. Betrayal was often an incentive to immediately end a friendship; however, betrayal was uncommon. Friends played a major role in these women's lives. The emotional aspects of the women's friendships were reported to be most important. Friends helped these women feel valued and provided a substantial amount of support to one another. The findings of this study should assure those divorced or widowed women who may be nearing retirement that the adjustment to retirement need not be difficult, especially if one has supportive friends.
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