University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and Center for Life TransitionsThe Center for Life Transitions is pleased to announce its collaboration with the Educational Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in studying the new roles, challenges and spirituality of adults in or facing retirement. The study, “Retirement, Spirituality and Possible Selves”, will involve 15 in-depth interviews with individuals facing or in retirement and from a variety of career fields.  The study will provide a foundation for more advanced research into this subject.

Dr. Nadya Fouad, Distinguished Professor of Education at UWM and Dr. Thomas Bachhuber, President of the CLT Board of Directors will direct the study. Catia Sophia Moreau, Ph.D. student in Educational Psychology at UWM will be the chief investigator. The research will take place over the Fall, 2013 with preliminary findings available by January 2013.

A review of research  makes the case that spirituality is a significant issue as it relates to aging and new roles found in retirement.  This is not surprising given the family, work, health and personal challenges faced at this stage of life.  Once the activity of career and/or raising a family recedes, it is natural to spend more time looking inward and reflecting on life’s’ bigger questions. These questions are different for everyone but often include some of the following:

  • What work roles will I miss and which new roles might I embrace?
  • How will I manage the challenges of aging and possible health difficulties?
  • Do I want to use my skills, abilities and experiences to make a difference in the world?
  • What needs in the world might benefit from my “gifts?”
  • Will my spiritual, faith or religious life change as I have more time and face new challenges?
  • How will I enjoy myself more in retirement?
  • Will my relationships with spouse, family, relatives and friends change in retirement?
  • How is my view of my mortality changed by retirement?

The study has the potential to shed light on these challenging, multi-faceted issues as well as point the way toward new research.  Through these discoveries, we may better understand our human development including our relationships to work, family, people and the larger powers within and around us.  The transition to both older and newer life may be a little clearer.