Fear as a Predictor of Life Satisfaction in Retirement in Canada

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Educational Gerontology

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In developed countries, healthy retirees can fulfill their life, but may fear growing old. Yet, there is little empirical data on the relationship between this fear and life satisfaction. This cross-sectional, correlational survey study tested whether a new, summated measure of Fears About Growing Old (FAGO)—derived from exemplifications of Laslett, who posited the theory of the Third Age—significantly predicted life satisfaction and retirement satisfaction after adjusting for significant social participation covariates. A total of 190 Canadian retirees at three senior centers in Ontario, Canada, completed surveys. A pilot study established the reliability and validity of the scales, including the FAGO, used to assess the independent variable. In a regression analysis, fear (R 2 change = .06) was found to be a statistically significant predictor of life satisfaction when controlling for five covariates (current activity, circumstance and pursuing own interest as two reasons for retirement, postretirement work, and perceived social support); overall R 2 = .26. For retirement satisfaction, fear significantly explained variance in the outcome (R 2 change = .04) while controlling for two significant covariates (current activity and perceived social support); overall R 2 = .14. A work by gender interaction on satisfaction was not found. Other than fear about loss of mobility, men rated loss of partner very high; women rated mortal disease very high. The lowest fear was loss of retirement income for men and loss of earning-power for women. Canada' s poverty preventive programs successfully supported senior postretirement life. The FAGO was useful to find senior needs.