Date of Award:

1-1-1995

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Jay D. Schvaneveldt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was t o examine the relationship between the types o f activities people engage in after they retire, how often they participate , how or with whom they participate , and how these independent variables influence the dependent variable of life satisfaction. The majority of the research done to date on postretirement activity focuses primarily on recreational activities. This study examined the effects of including some type of substantive or service activity in addition to hobbies and recreational act i vity. Participants were surveyed concerning their health, mobility, and financial conditions so that these variables could be controlled for in determining life satisfaction. They were questioned about their activities, and given the Life Satisfaction Index to measure life satisfaction. The results indicate that those who have no activities t hat they participate in on a regular basis--no hobbies, no forms of recreation , and no service-related activities-have a relatively high level of life satisfaction. Also those who have a high level of hobby and recreational activity combined with regular service activities have a higher level of satisfaction. Those who only occasionally engage in hobby and recreational activity and have no service-related activity have a moderate level of satisfaction. The results of this study confirm the hypothesis that life satisfaction is positively influenced by both hobbies and service activities. Age and gender of respondents are not important variables, but the issues of mobility, health, and economic status do impact life satisfaction. The importance of hobby and recreational activity has been frequently studied under the guise of activity theory, and found to be of significance in feelings of well-being and in life satisfaction. The role of service activity has not been thoroughly explored, but is believed to fill the need for exchange as postulated in exchange theory.

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