Engagement with six major life domains during the transition to retirement: Stability and change for better or worse

Jeremy M. Hamm, Jutta Heckhausen, Jacob Shane, Frank Infurna, Margie E. Lachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Active engagement with multiple life domains (cross-domain engagement) is associated with adaptation throughout the adult life span. However, less is known about the role of cross-domain engagement during significant life course transitions that can challenge motivational resources, such as the shift to retirement. Based on the motivational theory of life span development (Heckhausen, Wrosch, & Schulz, 2010, 2019), the present study used 9-year data from the national Midlife in the United States Study (MIDUS; n = 1,301, M age = 57, SD = 6.96, 56% female) to identify profiles of cross-domain engagement and to assess stability and change in these profiles during the transition to retirement. We also examined whether stability and change in the engagement profiles had implications for psychological adjustment. Results of latent profile analyses showed that three profiles of cross-domain engagement emerged both before and after retirement (high engagement, low work engagement, moderate engagement). Latent transition analyses indicated that most participants remained in their preretirement profiles at postretirement, with the majority classified in a profile defined by stable high engagement with multiple life domains. Results of ANCOVAs showed this stable high engagement profile was associated with the most adaptive 9-year changes in cross-domain perceived control, cross-domain situation quality, and crossdimension eudaimonic well-being. Findings advance the literature by showing that cross-domain profiles of engagement can be identified and that stability and change in these profiles have consequences for longitudinal psychological adjustment in retirement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-456
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Cross-domain goal engagement
  • Life course transitions
  • Primary control
  • Psychological adjustment and aging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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