For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"A Generativity Track to Life Meaning in Retirement: Ego-Integrity Returns on Past Academic Mentoring Investments"

by Chan, Thomas Miranda; Nakamura, Jeanne (2016)


One suggested pathway to developing life meaning and contentment in older adulthood is by achieving generativity needs during the working years via mentoring. Although theoretically linked, there is little empirical evidence supporting the work mentoring and psychosocial development relationship. The current study examines this postulated link by sampling retirees from academia, an occupational domain where the generative activity of mentoring is prevalent and has been theorized to relate to psychosocial development. A national U.S. sample of 277 emeritus academics were surveyed about their past mentoring investments and current psychosocial development (generativity achievement and ego-integrity development). Regression analyses revealed that those who identified as past mentors had greater levels of generativity achievement compared to past nonmentors. Structural equation modeling showed that, for retired mentors, past mentoring investments directly predicted generativity achievement and indirectly predicted ego-integrity development. This study expands empirical knowledge about the connections between work behaviors and psychosocial development in retirement.

Key Passage



Meaningful Work, Meaning Of Work, Well-Being, Psychology, Happiness, Retirement, Ageing, Academia, Education, Academic Work, Empirical Study


Meaningful Work

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