doi:

DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2017.00472

Acta Psychologica Sinica (心理学报) 2017/49:4 PP.472-481

Work and happiness of the newly retired in urban China


Abstract:
As the Chinese population ages, there is a growing consensus that the demographic which is nearing retirement may have to return to work or delay retirement so as to confront the challenge of such an aging population. However, so far few studies have investigated the issue from the perspective of an individual's subjective well-being. This study focused on the relationship between work and happiness of the newly retired group in urban China, and it aimed to understand the relationship between the two factors. Drawing upon the activity theory, we hypothesized that work and happiness of the newly retired were positively correlated. Specifically, income, social capital, and personal attitude caused a positive mediating effect on the relationship between work and happiness, while leisure caused a negative mediating effect.
To test the above hypotheses, we employed the survey data of China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) in 2010. We collected a sample of 3,406 newly retired residents in urban China, including men aged from 60 to 69, and women 50 to 69 years old. The sample was distributed in 25 provinces, which excluded Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Sinkiang, Tibet, Qinghai, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Hainan. In the questionnaire, we focused on the following battery of questions, such as work, self-reported happiness, annual income, social capital, individual attitude, amount of leisure time, and leisurely activities. We also controlled for socio-demographic factors, support of family, and personal health, etc.
After conducting an independent samples t test and regression analysis, we found that the newly retired who were working were less happy than those who were retired. In other words, work and happiness were negatively correlated, which was opposite to the hypothesis. Furthermore, results of the mediation effect model suggested that leisure was a significant mediating variable, while factors such as income, social capital and personal attitude were insignificant. Thus we concluded that the negative effect of work on happiness through the loss of leisure could not be offset by the positive effects caused by the change of income, social capital and personal attitude, which demonstrated why work and happiness were negatively correlated.
This study firstly constructed a theoretical framework to explain the relationship between work and happiness of the newly retired and tested the hypotheses by using multiple mediator models with a Chinese national-wide data set. The study also has several practical implications to promote the subjective well-being of the older generation who are working in a increasingly ageing society. According to these findings, the labor market needs to be improved for senior citizens, and more concern needs to be given to their social and spiritual needs.

Key words:urban newly retired,work,happiness

ReleaseDate:2017-05-12 17:01:36



Blöndal, S., & Scarpetta, S. (1998). The retirement decision in OECD countries. OECD Economics Department Working Papers, No. 202. OECD Publishing.

Carstensen, L. L., Isaacowitz, D. M., & Charles, S. T. (1999). Taking time seriously: A theory of socioemotional selectivity. American Psychologist, 54(3), 165–181.

Cheng, Z. H., Qiu, H. S., Yu, Y. F., Li, T. L., & Wang, B. Y. (1993). Reemployment of older adults and their (subjective) quality of life. Chinese Journal of Gerontology, (3), 136–137. [程志华, 邱华士, 俞延峰, 李天霖, 王滨燕. (1993). 老年人再就业与健康和(主观)生活质量关系的探讨. 老年学杂志, (3), 136–137.]

Cui, F. H. (2014). Study on retirement group psychological development (pp.17–18). Guangzhou, China: World Book Inc. [崔凤华. (2014). 临退休群体心理发展研究 (pp.17–18). 广州: 世界图书出版公司.]

Damásio, B. F., & Koller, S. H. (2015). How search for meaning interacts with complex categories of meaning in life and subjective well-being?. Spanish Journal of Psychology, 18, E4.

De Muijnck, W. (2013).The meaning of lives and the meaning of things. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(4), 1291–1307.

Diener, E., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2002). Will money increase subjective well-being? Social Indicators Research, 57(2), 119–169.

Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Very happy people. Psychological Science, 13(1), 80–84.

Eichar, D. M., Norland, S., Brady, E. M., & Fortinsky, R. H. (1991). The job satisfaction of older workers. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 12(7), 609–620.

Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., & Frijters, P. (2004). How important is methodology for the estimates of the determinants of happiness? The Economic Journal, 114(497), 641–659.

Hao, Y. N. (2008). Productive activities and psychological well-being among older adults. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 63(2), S64–S72.

Havighurst, R. J. (1961). Successful aging. The Gerontologist, 1, 8–13.

Hsieh, C. M. (2011). Money and happiness: Does age make a difference? Ageing and Society, 31(8), 1289–1306.

Jia, G. N. (1994). Reemployment of older adults and their later life. Population Research, 18(2), 49–54. [贾国年. (1994). 老年人的再就业与晚年生活. 人口研究, 18(2), 49–54.]

Kahn, R. L., & Antonucci, T. C. (1980). Convoys over the life course: Attachment roles and social support. In P. B. Baltes & J. O. G. Brim (Eds.), Life-span development and behavior (Vol. 3, pp. 253–286). New York: Academic Press.

Kim, E., Park, H. J., & Hogge, I. (2015). Examination of the Adlerian constructs of activity and social interest with depression among recent Korean retirees: Meaning in life as a mediator. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 61(3), 378–383.

Kim, J. E., & Moen, P. (2001). Is retirement good or bad for subjective well-being?. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10(3), 83–86.

Lemon, B. W., Begtson, V. L., & Peterson, J. A. (1972). An exploration of the activity theory of aging: Activity types and life satisfaction among in-movers to a retirement community. Journal of Gerontology, 27, 511–523.

Li, D. M., Chen, T. Y., & Wu, Z. Y. (2008). An exploration of the subjective well-being of the Chinese oldest-old. In Z. Yi, D. L Poston, Jr., D. A. Vlosky, & D. Gu (Eds.), Healthy longevity in China: Demographic, socioeconomic, and psychological dimensions (pp. 347–356). Netherlands: Springer.

Li, Z. (1997). Economic consideration of retirement age. Economic Review, (1), 87–92. [李珍. (1997). 关于退休年龄的经济学思考. 经济评论, (1), 87–92.]

Li, Z., & Wang, H. D. (2012). Target replacement ratio of basic pension insurance. Insurance Studies, (2), 97–103. [李珍, 王海东. (2012). 基本养老保险目标替代率研究. 保险研究, (2), 97–103.]

Liu, H. Y., Luo, F., Zhang, Y., & Zhang, D. H. (2013). Mediation analysis for ordinal outcome variables. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 45(12), 1431–1442. [刘红云, 骆方, 张玉, 张丹慧. (2013). 因变量为等级变量的中介效应分析. 心理学报, 45(12), 1431–1442.]

Menec, V. H. (2003). The relation between everyday activities and successful aging: A 6-year longitudinal study. Journal of Gerontology: Series B, 58, S74–S82.

Mu, G. Z. (1994). The elderly: Burden or wealth? Society, (6), 41–43. [穆光宗. (1994). 老年人: 包袱还是财富? 社会, (6), 41–43.]

Mu, G. Z. (2002). Development theory for the elderly: Framework of successful aging in 21st century. Population Research, 26(6), 29–37. [穆光宗. (2002). 老年发展论——21世纪成功老龄化战略的基本框架. 人口研究, 26(6), 29–37.]

Pagán, R. (2013). Job satisfaction and domains of job satisfaction for older workers with disabilities in Europe. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(3), 861–891.

Potočnik, K., & Sonnentag, S. (2013). A longitudinal study of well-being in older workers and retirees: The role of engaging in different types of activities. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 86, 497–521.

Qian, X., & Jiang, X. Q. (2006). Factors effecting desire of elderly employment in urban China. Population Journal, (5), 24–29. [钱鑫, 姜向群. (2006). 中国城市老年人就业意愿影响因素分析. 人口学刊, (5), 24–29.]

Quadagno, J. S. (2005). Aging and the life course: An introduction to social gerontology (3rd ed., pp. 282–310). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Sariçam, H. (2015). Subjective happiness and hope. Universitas Psychologica, 14(2), 685–694.

Song, B. A., & Yu, T. Q. (2011). The influence on happiness of urban elderly re-employment. Population Journal, (1), 42–46. [宋宝安, 于天琪. (2011). 城镇老年人再就业对幸福感的影响——基于吉林省老年人口的调查研究. 人口学刊, (1), 42–46.]

Stebbins, R. A. (2012). Leisure and happiness: An intricate relationship. Journal of Zhejiang University (Humanities and Social Sciences), 42(1), 31–43. [罗伯特·斯特宾斯. (2012). 休闲与幸福: 错综复杂的关系. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 42(1), 31–43.]

Sun, Y. (2004). Happiness (pp. 29–39). Beijing, China: People Press. [孙英. (2004). 幸福论 (pp. 29–39). 北京: 人民出版社.]

Tadic, M., Oerlemans, W. G. M., Bakker, A. B., & Veenhoven, R. (2013). Daily activities and happiness in later life: The role of work status. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(5), 1507–1527.

Tian, G. Q., & Yan, L. Y. (2006). A solution to the happiness-income puzzle: Theory and evidence. Economic Research Journal, (11), 4–15. [田国强, 杨立岩. (2006). 对“幸福—收入之谜”的一个解答. 经济研究, (11), 4–15.]

United Nation. (2002). The Madrid international plan of action on ageing. Retrieved Jan 13, 2017, from https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N02/397/50/PDF/N0239750.pdf?OpenElement [联合国. (2002).马德里老龄问题国际行动计划.]

Wang, M., & Wong, M. C. S. (2014). Happiness and leisure across countries: Evidence from international survey data. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(1), 85–118.

Wang, S. X. (1990). Employment of the elderly in China. Population & Economics, (3), 35–39. [王树新. (1990). 中国老年人口就业分析. 人口与经济, (3), 35–39.]

Wikipedia (n. d.). Subjective well-being. Retrieved Jan 13, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subjective_well-being

Xie, Y. (2013). Handbook of 2010 China family panel studies (2nd ed.). Retrieved Jan 13, 2017, from http://www.isss.edu.cn/cfps/d/file/p/e272b13cbbd8896f12921a73425bf573.pdf [谢宇. (2013). 中国家庭追踪调查(2010)用户手册(第二版).]

Xing, Z. J. (2011). A study of the relationship between income and subjective well-being in China. Sociological Studies, (1), 196–219. [邢占军. (2011). 我国居民收入与幸福感关系的研究. 社会学研究, (1), 196–219.]

Zhang, W. J. (2010). A study on the effects on labor participation of the Chinese elderly. Population & Economics, (1), 85–89, 92. [张文娟. (2010). 中国老年人的劳动参与状况及影响因素研究. 人口与经济, (1), 85–89, 92.]