The influence of individual and social predictors on retirement attitudes - a cross-cultural study

Lucia Helena Franca, Universidade Salgado de Oliveira UNIVERSO

The importance of retirement as an issue has only come to the fore in the second half of the 20th century. This relatively recent attention means that discussion has only just begun. More and more, governments are focussing their studies and policies on this area, either broadly or in specific terms. Understanding the negative and positive attitudes of people towards retirement and the predictors of these attitudes may help societies to address policies and actions to overcome this challenge. This study examined the social and individual set of variables on predicting the attitudes of top executives in Brazil and New Zealand towards retirement (Franca, 2004). In total, 517 high-level executives completed a questionnaire with 214 items. The importance of gains in retirement for both nationalities is increased by the positive influence of the family and friends on the decision to retire (FFIRD). The importance of gains is also increased by the diversity of activities and relationships (SOD), but only for Brazilians. Brazilian executives who perceive their jobs positively have more positive attitudes towards retirement. The perception of the Country’s Quality of Life (PCQL) did not predict negative attitudes for either nationality, but demonstrated the biggest difference between them. Brazilians evaluated PCQL more negatively than New Zealanders. Separate multiple regression analyses compared two sets of predictors: individual and social. Consistent with a collectivist orientation, the social predictors (SOD, FFIRD, JPS - Job Perception and PCQL) were more effective predictors of positive, rather than negative attitudes, especially for Brazilians. The individual predictors (health perception, income, income loss and proximity to retirement) were relatively poor at predicting retirement attitudes in general. Nevertheless, these predictors were slightly more successful at predicting negative attitudes than the social predictors. Also, they were more effective for the New Zealand sample, which is consistent with an individualist orientation.

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Presented in Session 13: A Life-Course Perspective on Retirement