Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. John S. Geisler

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert O. Brinkerhoff

Third Advisor

Dr. George Robeck


Much of the literature on aging, retirement, and stages of life has focused on men. The changing role from productive members of society to that of being retired can be either viewed as an opportunity to experience new adventures or depressing for those who are unable to move successfully into the next developmental stage of life. This study examined factors that could contribute to life satisfaction in 144 individuals who were over 65 years of age. The factors that were included in this examination are self-esteem, morale, depression, and demographic characteristics (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, educational level, marital status, income, self-reported health status, self-reported mobility status, activity level, work status, and memberships in organizations).

Retired individuals were recruited from a number of locations, including senior citizen centers and assisted living centers. The participants completed six instruments, the Life Satisfaction Scale, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Life Attitudes Profile - Revised, Geriatric Morale Scale, Geriatric Depression Scale, and a short demographic survey.

Most of the participants were female, Caucasian, and either married or widowed. They self-reported their health and mobility as either good or fair. The majority were working as volunteers, actively pursued hobbies, and belonged to church, senior citizen, or civic groups. They interacted with family and friends frequently.

The results of the study provided evidence that male and female participants did not differ in their responses regarding life satisfaction, selfesteem, geriatric morale, and geriatric depression. The findings of the present study found that life satisfaction was increased if retired individuals were not depressed, had retired at an early age, were either currently or had been married, had achieved a college education, were active as a volunteer, were in excellent health, and did not work part-time.

Understanding which psychosocial variables contribute to life satisfaction can assist professionals working with this group develop programs and strategies to help improve the quality of their life after retirement. Further research is needed to explore the correlates of life satisfaction in the elderly as this group continues to increase its presence in society.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access