Recognition in retirement: Life satisfaction of retired African -American middle class women

Juanita Carrillo, Fordham University


This is an exploratory study designed to better understand a segment of the retired population that has received little attention—middle class African-American women. The study examined the relationship between activity and life satisfaction for a sample of 153 such women, mean age 67, living in New York and the metropolitan area. Respondents were selected through a purposive, non-random, snowball method utilizing referrals from several sources—such as members of sororities, professional organizations, churches, academic institutions and governmental agencies. It was hypothesized that life satisfaction for the respondents would be enhanced through greater numbers of activities and higher participation levels in those activities. Activity domains were: community service, social/leisure, religious observation, caregiving and employment. Additional factors that influence life satisfaction—self-efficacy, retirement choice (voluntary or involuntary) and length of time retired—were examined, as well. Scales used were: Life Satisfaction Index-Z and the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Findings revealed that the majority of respondents were highly satisfied in retirement and held strong self-efficacy beliefs. Community service, social/leisure and religious activities were related to their successful aging and adding new activities in retirement did not increase life satisfaction. In multiple regression analysis, self-efficacy and financial adequacy were positively related to life satisfaction while length of time retired was negatively related. There was no significant relationship between life satisfaction and the nature of the retirement choice.

Subject Area

Social work|African Americans|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Carrillo, Juanita, "Recognition in retirement: Life satisfaction of retired African -American middle class women" (2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3125116.