Free
Research Article  |   September 2000
Evolving Narratives in the Course of Retirement: A Longitudinal Study
Author Affiliations
  • Hans Jonsson, PhD, OTR, is Assistant Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy, Karolinska Institutet, Retzius v. 13, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden; Hans.Jonsson@neurotec.ki.se
  • Staffan Josephsson, OTR, PhD, is Associate Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Gary Kielhofner, DrPH, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor and Head, Department of Occupational Therapy and Professor, School of Public Health, The University of Illinois at Chicago. He is Adjunct Foreign Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Article Information
Narrative
Research Article   |   September 2000
Evolving Narratives in the Course of Retirement: A Longitudinal Study
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2000, Vol. 54, 463-470. doi:10.5014/ajot.54.5.463
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2000, Vol. 54, 463-470. doi:10.5014/ajot.54.5.463
Abstract

This paper presents results from the second phase of a longitudinal study of retirement. Data were gathered through interviews with 29 participants (65 to 66 years of age) who had previously been interviewed when they were 63 to 64 years of age and still working. Data were analyzed by characterizing each subject’s narrative about retirement in terms of its narrative slope—progressive, stability, or regressive. These current narratives also were compared with the earlier narratives these participants told. It was found that, while anticipatory narratives may predispose persons toward action, they are not so much a fixed “script for action” as an orientation to act within circumstances. While participants’ narratives anticipating retirement often turned out as expected, they were sometimes reshaped as a consequence of personal action, external events, and unexpected experiences within new retirement occupations. The study suggests that, while narratives play a role in shaping the direction of persons lives, they also interweave with and change directions as a result of ongoing life events and experiences.